Xenia’s Funk commits to App State


XENIA — The term “Fun Belt” isn’t the reason Xenia senior Gabe Funk made his collegiate choice, but he does find it to be an amusing nickname for the league he’ll soon be competing within.

Funk announced his verbal commitment to Appalachian State through his social media on Saturday. He made an official visit to Boone, N.C., on Thursday and said the impact was immediate.

“I just really felt like the culture was amazing,” Funk said. “I just felt like family there and it felt like home. I loved the coaches, but I really loved the facilities too and the campus was so close together.”

Playing on the offensive line as a left tackle, Funk was the most prominent player pushing around opponents for the Buccaneers during the team’s MVL championship campaign in 2022 which set numerous offensive records and finished with the first recognized 10-0 regular season in school history.

247sports lists Funk near the top 100 of Ohio players in the Class of 2024. After transferring to Xenia from Harrison High School, the 6-foot 6-inch, 290-pound force was named first team All-MVL and All-Southwest District, and was second team all-state a season ago.

“I want to get first team All-State this year,” he said as his top goal for his senior year.

Funk said his parents has similar feelings regarding App State and their support made the decision easier to choose a school farther away.

Having received 12 official scholarship offers during the recruiting process, seven of those came from Mid American Conference schools and included most of the Ohio-based programs. Funk said he initially was hoping to make the best choice that didn’t take him too far from home, but he loved his visit to Boone and it helped settled his decision.

Being heavily recruited inserted Funk to be the center of attention at times, but he said he learned how to overcome pressure associated with being in that role through continuing to work toward his goals.

“The best feedback came from Eastern Michigan,” Funk said. “I really learned about the recruiting process from them as they told me to stick with the top three I had in mind and go do visits and stuff to really dig deep into schools.”

Funk said he was told he has a strong chance of maintaining the same position on the line at the college level, which could potentially have him help lead more powerful offensive units soon.

Appalachian State competes at the FBS level in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mountaineers have won three national titles at the FCS level and since moving up have finished each of its nine season with a winning record and made seven straight bowl appearances. The program may be most known for its victory against Michigan in 2007, which is regarded as one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

The SBC has in recent years received the “Fun Belt” nickname on social media due in part to the exciting style of offenses many of the league’s schools employ, as well as pulling off upsets over national powers Nebraska, Notre Dame and Texas A&M last season.

Being a key cog in Xenia’s record setting performances already and having another year to continue pushing some local opponents around like rag dolls, Funk should fit in with his upcoming setting in the Appalachian Mountains.

Contact Steven Wright at 937-502-4498 and follow on Twitter @Steven_Wright_.

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