Leaning back in his chair, Jake Funk sat in his Literature Film class with eyes peeled on the screen in front of the classroom, jotting down notes on a movie like every other classmate would. Anxiously waiting for the clock to hit 2:30 in his seventh and final period, Funk wanted to get back to work on filling a void that’s eluded him throughout his football career.
Deep thoughts weaved through the back of his mind – pondering on the fact that rushing for nearly 3,000 yards and compiling 49 total touchdowns in the past 20 games just hasn’t been enough to satisfy college football programs of his dreams. He knew that it was out of his control.
It was a tough pill to swallow, but like his unselfish mannerism, he carried on – doing his work, waiting for the clock to hit 2:30 p.m. so he can strap on the pads and hit the practice field.
His phone buzzed. Whipping it out of his pocket, he glanced down at his phone notifications that glowed with a Twitter direct message from Chad Wilt, a University of Maryland recruiter and defensive line coach, requesting for a phone call.
Funk obliged as he meandered out into the school hallway to make the call.
“Coach Wilt, I apologize for not having your number in my phone,” Funk said as soon as the call was picked up.
Wilt answered with a curveball, “You should consider having my number in your phone since I’m offering you a scholarship to your hometown school.”
Funk was in awe, thanking Wilt numerous of times before he hung up the phone.
“When I got the call, it was very exciting,” Funk said. “All the local guys, friends and family started to hit me up to congratulate me.”
On Monday during practice, Funk got the hint that something might have been in the works.
“Coach Richardson, their running back coach, came out to our practice on Monday.”
Funk had some jitters, but he stuck to what he what he’s been doing since the age of seven years old.
“I just continued to play football. One of our assistants, Coach Frazier, told me that Coach Richardson saw what he needed to see.”
Funk’s latest scholarship is the 16th that he has received. He mulls offers from Air Force, Army, Harvard, Navy, Penn, UNC Charlotte, Ohio, Old Dominion, Towson, Wisconsin and Yale. He has also received interest from UNC and Stanford.
“This one (Maryland offer) definitely ranks up there,” Funk said. “It feels great to be apart of ‘The Movement’.”
Over the past year and a half, University of Maryland football has pressed the issue on keeping local, homegrown players within the states borders.
Some notable commitments the Terrapins have received are Quince Orchard defensive tackle Adam McLean, Bullis quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., Linganore offensive lineman E.J. Donahue, South Carroll safety Silas Kelly, Fort Hill running back Ty Johnson, Middletown offensive lineman Will McClain and Dematha standouts D.J. Turner, Lorenzo Harrison and Tino Ellis.
“To be looked at one of those homegrown guys they want to have around feels really great,” Funk said. “Playing with some of your friends rather than going off to a place (college) where you know nobody, it’ll definitely play a big role in my college choice.”
Through six games, Funk has compiled 1,089 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. Most of those games, he’s pulled at halftime.
“You know, I’ve been working really hard for this (Maryland offer), but it’s not going to change how I play,” Funk said. “You’re going to see the same Jake Funk you’ve seen since I was seven years old. That’s just playing as hard as I can no matter the circumstance.”
Coming down the home stretch of his senior year, Funk has one thing set on his mind – bringing a state championship to the town of Damascus. His team is off to another undefeated start at 6-0.
“All these people deserve it here in Damascus,” Funk said. “They’ve supported me and everyone playing on the same team since we were little. I want to give back to them.”
He also said he wouldn’t be where he is without his offensive line.
“Delano Myers, Jake Bradshaw, Jordan Funk, Michael Jurgens, Wayne Scott, they are a huge part of everything I’ve done.”
Funk also stated he has no timetable on a college commitment.
“This Maryland offer hasn’t even sank in yet,” Funk said. “I’m going to talk with my family and make the best decision when the time comes.”
Funk and I both sat outside of a local Chipotle just a mile or two down the road of Damascus High School. He sat there, taking phone calls and answering texts from his supporters. In street clothes, people approached him. Congratulating him on his newest offer. He graciously said “Thank you” and carried on.
Before he left he said “I’m grateful, man. I’m just grateful.”
You can follow me on Twitter at @k_fadd and Maryland Sports Access at @MDSportsAccess.