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With National Signing Day upon us, Maryland football's 2016 incoming class is molding into its final form. It wasn't the quite the banner season Terps fans had hoped for on the recruiting front. Maryland's haul enters Signing Day ranked No. 47 in the country, a number which would be much better had quarterback Dwayne Haskins and linebacker Keandre Jones not flipped to the dark side last month.
The DMV is still a hotbed for talent, but the area's top prospects are continuing to scatter across the country. The Ohio State and Alabama types get the best of the crop, while the Terps get what's left: usually a hodgepodge of three- and four-star prospects. Although new coach DJ Durkin and his staff of well-regarded recruiters figure to bring in more blue-chippers in the near future, next season they'll have to hope they lucked out with a few diamonds in the rough.
Jake Funk could be just that. The running back from Damascus High School led the Swarmin' Hornets to a 14-0 season and the 3A state championship this past fall. He scored seven touchdowns in a state championship victory. His performance earned him Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year honors.
Recruiting is a numbers game. Players are given stars and ratings, then ranked against one another. Funk's scout numbers (three stars and an 82 rating, per the 247Sports Composite) are rather pedestrian. In fact, he's listed below the Terps' other two commits at the position, Lorenzo Harrison and LaDerrien Wilson.
But his on-field numbers, far more objective than the assignment of stars, are jaw-dropping. In his senior season at Damascus, Funk rushed for 2,866 yards and scored 57 total touchdowns. In his bonanza of a state title game, his team won 55-14. Numbers like those cannot be interpreted as anything other than dominant.
Funk comes from a family of athletes, but he entered high school standing only 5'7 and weighing just 140 pounds, so he knew he had to grow stronger and faster every season. He was MVP of the JV squad as a freshman, started on varsity by the end of his sophomore year, broke out as a star in his junior season and set the world on fire as a senior.
And yet, he only got two Power 5 offers, from Maryland and Wisconsin. He felt as though his athleticism and all-around skill set at running back were being overlooked, and he used this as motivation.
There's all the reason to believe his high level of dedication will continue at Maryland. Funk has enrolled early at the university and thus won't count against the 25-scholarship limit for the 2016 class. He won't have to adjust to the college grind in the same way other freshmen will come August and September. On the field, his desire to prove people wrong should make him, and probably his fellow running backs, better.
Time and time again, the athletes that succeed are the ones that play as if they have something to prove. Funk is not only that type of player, but he's been as dominant between the lines as anyone, and has a great name to boot. Get ready for the Funk, Terps fans.
Ed. note: This is a sponsored post, but we'd have written it anyway.