Mount Pleasant was not always a destination for NFL scouts, as the Chippewas only has one player drafted from 1992-2004. But that began to change in 2005, when CMU started to turn the corner and produce victories on the football field. Coincidentally, those wins came with an influx of NFL talent, headlined by a pair of talented offensive lineman in OT Adam Kieft and C Eric Ghiaciuc. In a weird twist, both would be drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2005 NFL Draft, with Ghiaciuc going in the 4th round and Kieft following close by in the 5th.
Those two players would set the CMU standard for stellar offensive line play, and they would be followed by more Chippewas to the green pastures of the NFL. In 2007, C Drew Mormino would be selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 6th round, while OT Joe Staley would become the first ever Central Michigan player selected in the 1st round when he was nabbed with the 28th pick by the San Francisco 49ers. Along the way, other recent Chippewa offensive lineman would get their chance in the NFL via the Undrafted Free-Agent route, including center Colin Miller (2010), OG Jeff Maddux (2010) and OT Rocky Weaver (2011).
Now, the Chippewas appear to have another highly touted offensive lineman drawing attention from the NFL: Eric Fisher.
At 6-foot-8 and 305 pounds, Fisher has come a long way from the 250 pound high school senior that first enrolled at Central Michigan. Playing for Rochester Hills (Mich.) Stoney Creek, Fisher lined up all over the field at left tackle, defensive end, and even outside linebacker and punter. As a freshman, he was even the starting quarterback. But as he grew, his high school coaches started to realize the potential he had and inserted him at the left tackle position.
"Coach said that if I was going to go to the next level, I would probably be an offensive lineman," Fisher said in a 2008 interview with The Oakland Press. "He put me there, and it worked pretty good. All the camps over the summer helped. It got me ready for the season."
It would prove to be a wise decision, as Fisher blossomed into a star as a senior and earned an offer from Central Michigan after camping, and he subsequently became the first football player from Stoney Creek to ever receive a Division 1 scholarship. Fun Fact: He was also part of a special 2009 CMU recruiting class, as guys such as Fisher, WR Cody Wilson, LB/FB Adam Fenton and RB Zurlon Tipton worked out together in preparation for their collegiate career.
The big issue with him was adding weight, and once he was able to fill out the coaches would have no choice but to play him. In 2009, he filled in as a true freshman at left tackle vs. Ball State and Northern Illinois before becoming a starter in 2010 at both guard and tackle. In 2010 he would wrestle the starting left tackle position from Jake Olson, and he has never looked back. This Saturday against Western Michigan will mark his 18th straight start at left tackle, and his play has not gone unnoticed. Several outlets have Fisher ranked as the top senior offensive tackle prospect in the country, and he is in line for a Senior Bowl invitation and a potential first round grade for the 2013 NFL Draft.
"Eric Fisher is a kid out of Central Michigan who is going to be a late one or early two in my opinion, he had a real strong game," said noted NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper after the Chippewas hosted Michigan State earlier this season.
With the height, size, wingspan and attitude to dominate, expect Eric Fisher to be next in a great line of Chippewa offensive lineman in the NFL.
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