Meet The Two Michigan Athletes Playing In Super Bowl 50
Michigan has long been known for developing football talent, but only two state-bred talents are on this year's Super Bowl rosters.
Devin Funchess, a wide receiver for the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, grew up in Farmington and played for one of the legendary high school programs in the state, Farmington Hills Harrison, where he helped them win one of their record 13 state championships. He then went to the University of Michigan, where he shifted from tight end to wide receiver his senior year to help his draft chances.
Funchess was picked by the Panthers in the second round of the NFL Draft, 41st overall.
As a rookie for the Panthers, Funchess has come on late in his first season to become a solid option for QB Cam Newton. Funchess had 7 catches for 120 yards in the team's season finale against Tampa Bay, and has caught 3 passes so far in the NFL Playoffs.
Bennie Fowler, a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos had a slightly more difficult path the Big Game than Funchess. Signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State, Fowler was relegated to the practice squad by Denver in 2014, before making the team this season.
Fowler played in all 16 regular season games and both playoff games for the Broncos, catching 16 passes for 231 yards. He credits Peyton Manning with making him a better player.
Fowler grew up in Beverly Hills, Michigan and played his prep ball at Detroit Country Day School in Birmingham, helping them to the Division 4 title game in 2008. Recruited by Michigan State, he led the team in receiving yards with 622 yards and scored six touchdowns in his senior year in 2013.
Offensive lineman Michael Scholfield of the Broncos attended the University of Michigan, but hails from the Chicago area.