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Damascus' Jake Funk becomes latest to join 'The Movement' at Maryland

Jake Funk had been developing through his entire career at Damascus, putting up eye-catching numbers at running back as the Swarmin' Hornets racked up wins and marched through the playoffs, but the attention he was receiving from colleges didn't match the level he thought he was capable of playing. He hit the midway point of his senior season with an offer to play linebacker from Wisconsin, offers from the three service academies and offers from other low-level Football Bowl Subdivision schools,

Jake Funk had been developing through his entire career at Damascus, putting up eye-catching numbers at running back as the Swarmin' Hornets racked up wins and marched through the playoffs, but the attention he was receiving from colleges didn't match the level he thought he was capable of playing.

He hit the midway point of his senior season with an offer to play linebacker from Wisconsin, offers from the three service academies and offers from other low-level Football Bowl Subdivision schools, plus some from Football Championship Subdivision schools.

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But then Maryland got involved, and things started moving faster. And on Oct. 14, the three-star recruit became Maryland's first commitment for the Class of 2016 under interim coach Mike Locksley.

"I definitely was hoping that they would [offer me]," Funk said. "Them being the hometown school meant a lot to me. Them playing in the Big Ten made it an easier decision on me, too, because I come from a Big Ten family. It just felt right, so I decided to commit sooner than later."

On Oct. 12, Maryland running backs coach Terry Richardson attended a Damascus practice. The next day, the Terps offered him a scholarship. Funk talked things over with his family — his dad played football at Penn State and his older brother played lacrosse at Ohio State — and made the decision to commit. Funk didn't announce his decision until Oct. 16 because Damascus had a game the night before and he didn't want to be inundated with well-wishes while trying to prepare.

Funk was a late bloomer in the recruiting world. He entered high school standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 140 pounds. He has grown four inches and put on more than 60 pounds since then, and his production on the field has improved simultaneously. As a junior, Funk rushed for 1,832 yards and 37 touchdowns in a year in which Damascus finished as the state runner-up in Class 3A.

Funk joins a recruiting class that's currently ranked 35th by 247sports.com and boasts four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Bullis and a trio of DeMatha standouts — wide receivers Tino Ellis and D.J. Turner, and running back Lorenzo Harrison. They're part of "The Movement" of local top talent deciding to stay home, and Funk is the latest addition.

The day his commitment was announced, Funk was on the sidelines for DeMatha's nationally televised matchup with Gonzaga hanging out with Turner, who was injured earlier this season. Funk said he played seven-on-seven with Haskins and Turner in the spring, and he has been meeting other members of the recruiting class since his commitment.

The common thread among many of the local recruits, Funk said, is that there's a commitment to Maryland, both the school and the state, as opposed to a commitment to only a coach. Haskins has reaffirmed his commitment since former coach Randy Edsall was fired, and Funk said his desire to play for the Terps stemmed from other factors beyond simply the coach.

"I didn't really commit based on the coaching staff," Funk said. "There were more things that I thought about before I made my decision that really swayed me toward Maryland. I know they're going to make the right decision on who to take."

Funk said the possibility of playing early at running back at Maryland — starter Brandon Ross is in his final year of eligibility — was a factor that led to his commitment, along with the academics and proximity to his family in Damascus.

Most of all, though, Funk wants to play for his hometown school.

"'The Movement' is just huge," Funk said. "A lot of it is playing for your state. We want to come in and we want to shake the Big Ten. We want to make some noise for the Maryland program and get the Maryland program in the right direction. … So yeah, it's more of a commitment to the state and to the school than it is to the coaching staff, which is something I really like about the group of guys that I'm with."

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