Eric Fisher's rise to the top
Just like most young football players, Eric Fisher always dreamed of playing in the NFL.
But, the former Central Michigan University offensive tackle probably didn't realize being a first-round draft pick and a probable top-five selection would become his reality.
“I think it’s been my dream, but I don’t think I ever gave myself credit. So, I just kept trying to get better and better,” Fisher said. “And then, I go down to the Senior Bowl (in February), and I think that is when I realized what I was doing was probably right as far as work ethic and whatnot. So, it’s been my dream; I just think it has gone way further than I ever could have imagined, but, maybe that’s what I was working for the whole time.”
It is that work ethic that has many NFL teams raving about Fisher's potential to be an anchor on the left side of an offensive line for a number of years.
But, Fisher's dedication and hard-working attitude isn't a new development.
His high school coach said he demonstrated those qualities even as a young player.
“Eric Fisher was always a very hard worker,” Calvin Gross, Fisher’s high school coach at Stoney Creek, told CMU athletics Monday. “He was a hard worker in the weight room; he was a hard worker on the football field; and not only was he a hard worker, he was a person who loved to compete.”
The weeks leading up to the 2013 draft have been different from past years. The projected top-10 is much more ambiguous, with experts projecting Fisher to go to a number of different teams with top picks.
However, Fisher said he has not paid much attention to mock drafts and is just looking forward to an opportunity to show why he would be a great addition to an NFL team.
“What I tell people is when those mock draft experts have a pick, I’ll pay attention to them,” he said. “Everyone’s going to have an opinion, and there are only 32 opinions that count right now.”
With all of the hype of the last few months, Fisher said he is ready to hear his name called Thursday so he can get to work for whatever team he is drafted to.
“(The feeling of being drafted) was very surreal, but it’s starting to set in now that it’s getting closer,” Fisher said. “One of the things I concentrated on the most was just keeping a level head and staying humble. It’s an absolute unreal experience, so I’m trying to take it in, but, you have to take it in right. I’m just really excited to go to New York and hear my name get called. It will be something I never forget.”
Wherever he goes, Gross said it is an honor to have coached Fisher.
“I never dreamt of where he’s at right now,” Gross said. “I knew he could possibly play Division 1 college football because he’s a gifted athlete and he works so hard; but where he’s at right now, it’s amazing; not only myself, but everyone here at Stoney Creek is very proud of him.”
His biggest fans
Fisher said he knows he would not have made it this far if it weren't for the support he received from those closest to him—especially his mom, Heidi Langegger.
“My mom is my biggest fan, that’s for sure,” Fisher said. “I think in college, she only missed like three games home and away. She’s always been right there behind me; she’s always supported me in every chance I’ve made. She’s very excited, and I’m really excited for my family also.”
At times, Fisher said it seems like his family is even more excited than him.
“I come from a very blue-collar family, so (being drafted) is like something nobody has really done in my family before,” he said. “Nobody has really done anything to this extent, as far as exposure, so my family is absolutely off the wall right now. It’s going to be fun.”
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound left tackle has also received a lot of support from his friends and former teammates.
“I've got my close friends from back home who I keep in touch with, and everyone on my team from CMU is really excited for me,” Fisher said. “It’s just great having that core of people there who are behind you the whole time.”
Former high school teammate Mark D’annunzio said the reality of having a Stoney Creek alum drafted in the first round still hasn’t set in yet.
“When he first went to CMU, I was like ‘good for him,'” D’annunzio said. “But, none of us on the team ever really thought he was going to go pro. And all of a sudden, his junior and senior year, he really started to get noticed, and now he’s going to be a first-round pick. It’s mind-boggling.”
Despite all of the hype and media attention he has received the past few months, Fisher insists not much will change after he gets drafted.
“I think (players change who they are) a lot in the NFL,” Fisher said. “But, I know where I came from, I know who I am as a person, and I plan on being that person forever.”
Even with his hectic schedule, Fisher finds time to clear his mind from football once in a while.
“It’s a really busy time, so when I do get a couple of hours or a day or two off, I usually do something I enjoy doing, whether it’s hunting, fishing or just hanging out in the country. I try to enjoy that," he said. "Because if you’re 100-percent football all the time, you’ll kind of lose your mind.”