Alex Funches was born in California -- Fontana, to be specific -- and after a weekend official visit to Berkeley two weeks ago, he decided he'd come back to the state of his birth, committing to the Golden Bears.
"It was amazing. I love it down there," he said. "I've always been a person who picks up on vibe, and I got a really good vibe down there. I just loved everything, the landmarks, you can see San Francisco Bay, the pier, just everything was just amazing. The team, they had a nice vibe, it was great."
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound rush end, like his Athens (Tex.) Trinity Valley College teammate and newly-minted Cal commit and fellow official visitor Da'Quan Patton, was hosted by defensive tackle James Looney.
"He was just really honest," Funches said. "That was one of the things that I liked. He was an honest player, and he told us all the ins and outs of Cal. He was telling us that, if he could go back to his recruiting time, and all the schools that he had, if he could have been offered by anybody, he knows he would have come to Cal. His honesty really stuck out."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1684065-film-alex-funches-...Funches's time spent with Looney and defensive line coach Fred Tate sold him immediately on the Bears.
"Coach Tate, he's a cool coach. That's another thing -- I feed off of coaching vibe," he said. "We have a really good D-line coach down here, and we vibe, and me and coach Tate, he seems like a really good coach, somebody I can call and just talk to, and I could work with him."
Going on the visit with Patton was also a big plus for Funches, who moved out to Texas early in his childhood, and was raised in Dallas.
"It was actually really cool," he said. "I'd never been on a recruiting trip, and to go with one of my teammates, with one of my boys down here, we got to talk about it. It's not talking about it with other recruits, but we actually got to talk about it with each other, because we've been through the JuCo grind, gone through the same stuff. It was just good to go with somebody I knew, and it was a really good weekend."
Funches only had an offer from Division II Arkansas Tech out of Denton (Tex.) Ryan, and was just 200 pounds, so he chose to head to Trinity Valley, where he's blossomed into a persistent pass rusher.
"I think that I rush the passer really well, and I would bring a lot of explosiveness to the backfield, and disrupting plays in the backfield," Funches said. "I'm a lot faster, a lot more explosive [than in high school]."
A full qualifier out of high school, Funches completed his course work at Trinity Valley this spring, but is taking several classes this fall to bolster his transcript for Cal, and will be able to enroll at Berkeley in January.
"I"m good to go, but I'm taking a few classes, to be able to come in to Cal. Just taking a few things, and then I'll be good," he said. "When I met with Coach Coc [Ron Coccimiglio, director of career development], he works with all the student-athletes on Life After Football, and it just opened up my eyes, how they treat their players, on the field and off the field, set them up with job interviews, and how San Francisco and the Bay Area and Berkeley and Oakland is just a great area for me to get an education and thrive on and off the field. It was a big eye-opener for me."
He'll return to a state where both sides of his family still live, and that aspect was certainly a plus when he considered the Bears, against offers from Kansas and Iowa State. He will have two years to play two, and has a 3.0 cumulative GPA, following a 3.5 semester this spring.
The Bears see Funches as a"rush end, defensive end, coming up the field, not filling gaps, but attacking, going and making plays."
"I'm a smaller defensive end, so getting bigger, being able to hold on to run blocks," Funches said. "That's something that every player, every defensive end needs to work on, but that's one thing that I'm trying to work on this season, is being able to get off blocks when they're on me, basically making it to where they can't hold me."
Funches will still take visits, which he told the Cal staff.
"Over the weekend, I actually committed to Cal, made my decision, and I told the coach that I still want to take a few more visits just to check it out, but I'm still strong. Go Bears. Blue collar, gold swagger," he said. "I'm sticking with it, but I want to venture out. As much as he wouldn't like it, he understands that you only have that one recruiting process once in a lifetime, and he said, 'You should go.' He would be OK with me going on my visits, as long as I keep him updated and everything, telling him what's going down. I'm committed, but I'm not trying to throw a tweet out there. I just want to be as humble as possible. I've never been the kind of person to go out there and say everything I do [on Twitter]."
Funches becomes the eighth member of a recruiting class that also includes defensive lineman Gabe Cherry, Patton, cornerbacks Michael Onyemaobi and Je'Quari Godfrey, quarterback Chase Garbers and receivers Jeremiah Hawkins and Taariq Johnson.