COLUMN: Big Fish in a big pond

How often do we hear people say hard work pays off?

It is a redundancy I sometimes get tired of hearing, because I know there are times it doesn’t.

But, in some cases, it is the pure truth.

Left tackle Eric Fisher is rocketing up the 2013 NFL mock draft boards and will likely be the highest draft pick in Central Michigan history.

But, I can personally tell you, if you would have said Fisher would be a first-round pick out of college four years ago, I would have called you crazy.  Almost all of Stoney Creek High School in Rochester, Mich., would have laughed in your face.

As I watched him in high school, I could tell he was a solid player, but he was no must-see five-star lineman. He didn’t even play offensive line until his senior year.

However, Fisher impressed enough to receive scholarship offers from Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan and even earned playing time as a true freshman at CMU.

He continued to fill his large 6-foot-7 frame, which thrusted him into a starting role his sophomore season.

Fisher followed his sophomore campaign by earning third team All-MAC honors, despite missing the last two games due to injury.

But, he answered any questions regarding his health his senior season by starting all 12 games and being named to the All-MAC first team.

And now we wait, as the tackle continues to impress during the practices leading up to the Senior Bowl on Saturday in Mobile, Ala.

Although many of the draft’s top senior prospects typically decline invitations to the Senior Bowl, Fisher is using this as an opportunity to prove he can compete with players from top conferences and potentially hurdle over Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel, who is projected to be the first lineman taken.

Scouts might still have Joeckel as the top lineman and a top-five pick, but Fisher still has ample time to show why he should be number one in April’s draft.

And one thing I know about Fisher is he wants to be the best. Not in a cocky, arrogant way, he just doesn’t expect anything less from himself.

He has overcome the odds against him before, and I see no reason why he wouldn’t be able to do it again.

Not only would it be great for CMU, but also the Mid-American Conference and the state of Michigan.

And it would be another example of how hard work really does pay off.


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