Eric Fisher may have believed that he was worth the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, but he had to work exceptionally hard over the last few years to bring followers to that cause.
“I think I answered all the questions," he said soon after the Kansas City Chiefs gave him that honor. "Coming out of a small school, obviously people are going to have questions. What kind of competition did he face? What kind of athlete is he? I think I proved myself at the Senior Bowl, the combine, pro day. … I think I answered all the questions.”
The road ahead is filled with potential, but the road taken was far from a sure thing.
On one of his college visits as a high school recruit, the 18-year-old Fisher drove six hours from his home in Rochester Hills, Michigan to talk with an NCAA coach of some renown. When Fisher arrived, the coach wished him luck, but said that he had to skip the visit because he had a golf outing.
"Yeah, it was a little frustrating," Fisher told Y! Sports this week, during a media tour for Tide detergent. "Obviously, he's probably kicking himself."
One can only assume that the coach, who Fisher would not name, spent a lot of time in the last year doing just that. Fisher was a lightly-regarded prospect -- a 230-pound tackle out of Stoney Creek High -- but even he was surprised by the lack of interest he received from the big schools. Shut out of the Big 10, Fisher weighed offers from Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, and chose the latter. Just a few years later, Fisher heard his name called as the first overall pick in the NFL draft. And in the end, Fisher felt most at home where he wound up.
"It just all felt right," he said of his time at Central Michigan. "I really liked the coaching staff at the time. Just the atmosphere of that school. The game-day atmosphere ... our stadium only holds 30,000 people, but at the same time, it feels like one of those big-day atmospheres, so it was nice. "
Eric Fisher and his mother, Heidi Langegger, during a recent media blitz. (Tide)The one person who was always at his side through the process was his mother, Heidi Langegger, who raised him as a single parent. Fisher's father was in the picture, but he lived a few hours away, and it was up to Ms. Langegger to be her son's primary voice of support and validation when few others believed in his football future.
"I think part it comes with a work ethic, and bringing Eric up with a strong work ethic," she said of her son's current success. "Nothing in life is free. I had looked into the different one-a-day camps, sent him out there, and wanted him to know that if he wants something bad enough, then you work for it, anything is possible. And for Eric, his work ethic, even when he was in high school, every morning, 5:00 a.m., whether they had to be there or not, he was working out on the football field or in the weight room and he was very dedicated. It's something he wanted, and he went after it, and he's obtaining his dream."Read More »from Eric Fisher’s mom has been his guiding light through a long road to the NFL