Record-setting Damascus RB Jake Funk set to enroll early at Maryland

A week after Jake Funk had wrapped up one of the most decorated careers in state high school history, the Damascus senior running back and Maryland commit was unwinding and relaxing. College still seemed like it was eight months away.

But then Maryland coach DJ Durkin and his staff approached Funk about enrolling early at the university to get a jumpstart on his college career.


Earlier this week, Funk finished his final requirement — a Spanish class — and he's slated to begin classes at the beginning of Maryland's second semester on Jan. 24.

"It feels great," Funk said Friday. "It's going to be something new and it's going to be something I'm very excited for."

Funk was the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year and The Washington Post's All-Met Offensive Player of the Year after he rushed 249 times for 2,862 yards and scored 57 touchdowns while leading Damascus to a 14-0 season and the Maryland 3A state title. In the Swarmin' Hornets' 55-14 win over Dundalk, Funk rushed for 270 yards and scored a title-game record seven touchdowns. Here's the highlight tape from his senior season.

Funk was Maryland's first commit after coach Randy Edsall was fired in October and has held steadfast in his decision. He's rated as a three-star recruit by and Scout and a two-star recruit by and ESPN.

With a new coaching staff under Durkin and new system under offensive coordinator Walt Bell being implemented this spring, Funk can be on the same page as the rest of the team by enrolling early. He'll participate in spring practice, and he'll avoid the steep learning curve the rest of the freshman class will face in August during fall camp.

Funk also has the opportunity to stake his claim to playing time in a thin Maryland backfield. Running back Brandon Ross, who rushed for 958 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, is gone, while Wes Brown (317 yards, three touchdowns) was suspended indefinitely in November.

The lone returning contributors in the Terps backfield are rising sophomore Ty Johnson (250 yards, three touchdowns) and rising senior fullback Kenneth Goins Jr. (60 yards, one touchdown).

"It's going to be huge with the new coaching staff, new offense," Funk said. "I'm going to be able to come in and start learning it as soon as they start installing it. I think it just gives me a huge advantage just from me being a freshman. … It just gives me an advantage on everything I want to do."

"When I really thought about it and thought about it with my family, it's an opportunity that you just couldn't give up because there's so many benefits to it," Funk added.

Funk said Durkin and Maryland will be "flexible" and allow him to return to Damascus for National Signing Day on Feb. 3, his senior prom in May and graduation in June. He'll have the chance to enjoy the same things any typical senior would as he winds down his academic career.

With recruiting in full swing right now ahead of signing day, Funk was visited by new Maryland running backs coach Anthony Tucker at Damascus on Friday. Funk said he's monitoring what's happening on the recruiting front closely, but he's mostly staying out of actively recruiting other potential Maryland targets to join him in the class.

"I try to talk to some people, but I don't try to get too involved to where I get kind of annoying," Funk said.

At the time of his commitment in October, Funk said he was committing to the school and to the state as opposed to a coaching staff. He's watched Maryland hire Durkin and Durkin put together his coaching staff and been impressed with how things have come together. And later this month, he'll get his chance to start to make his mark on Maryland.

"I think what they're doing is great," Funk said. "I truly believe Coach Durkin and the whole staff is going to change the program for the best. He hired a great staff. They're very well-known coaches. A lot of head coaches decided to step down and become position coaches under him. I just think he's got a lot of people believing in him."