On his Twitter account Thursday, Neosho senior Jarvis Funk announced his commitment to play football and attend NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist in Bolivar.
“I’d like to thank all of the coaches, mentors, and examples who’ve pushed me to become the man I am today,” Funk said. “I’ve been overwhelmed by all of the support I’ve received from church members, community members, and Wildcat Nation as a whole. It’s been a blast, and I’ll forever cherish the memories. I’m humbled that God has blessed my hard work with the opportunity to play college football. As of last night, I’ve officially committed to further my education and football career at Southwest Baptist University, and I couldn’t be more excited! Catch me next year in purple!”
It should be no surprise that Funk made this decision, since he states “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” right on his Twitter page.
Present and former Neosho High coaches congratulated Funk on Twitter.
“Perfect fit!” former Neosho head coach Dustin Baldwin said. “SBU Football is getting a top level player and person. Congrats Jarvis!”
“Congratulations Jarvis,” Josh Yarnell said. “They are getting a great player and an even better young man. You are going to (do) great things on the football field. I also look forward to seeing you do amazing things for God’s kingdom.”
Funk, who converted to running back his senior year under a shift in philosophy and personnel after the hiring of veteran football coach Leon Miller, is listed at wide receiver in his commitment, a position he played during his previous years of high school football.
In his junior season, Funk ranked third on the Wildcats with 25 catches for 307 yards and three scores. Both the player who led the team in receptions and the quarterback who threw passes to both of them were on collegiate rosters this past season, Bryce Murphy at Pittsburg State and Coleman Scott at Missouri Southern, respectively. The three schools, until recent seasons, have all been Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association rivals.
As part of a strategical scheduling alliance, Southwest Baptist and Lincoln play in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in football, and play their other sports in the MIAA.
The Bearcats come off a 5-5 overall and 4-3 GLVC season, but in 2016 the school had its best season in program history with a 10-2 overall record and a NCAA-II national playoff appearance in which the Bearcats fell to the Colorado School of Mines 63-35.
The Bearcats are coached by Robert Clardy, who earned conference coach of the year honors after that historic 2016 season.
The 2017 Southwest Baptist roster, of course, features several players from the Central Ozark, Ozark, and Big 8 conferences, like former Monett standout Michael Branch and former Aurora standout Skylar Cahill, not to mention redshirts Payton Evans (Aurora), Garrett Hadlock and Jarrett Massie (Mount Vernon), and Nicos Oropeza (Nixa).
In recent seasons, the Bearcats have been known for their explosive offense and Funk’s speed (being a state medalist on a pair of relay teams) and skills fit that mold.
The official National Signing Day is Wednesday, February 7.