"It doesn't matter where you go but what you do when you get there."
The former Washington Redskins Super Bowl winning quarterback Doug Williams once told me that about a dozen years ago when he was the head coach at Morehouse College in Atlanta and it's something that really hit home with me in dealing with high school football prospects.
Here in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine that Williams quote rings so true for one prospect in particular. His name is Eric Fisher who was recruited out of high school by virtually no one. He signed with Central Michigan as a 230-pound tight end. 76-pounds and a few years later Fisher has turned himself into a sure fire first round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
"I am living my dream," proclaimed Fisher, as he stood on a podium and addressed the NFL media. "I have been chasing this dream for so long. This was my goal and I am looking forward to all the testing and working out and hopefully become the No. 1 offensive tackle in the draft."
Fisher played his high school football in Rochester Hills (Mi.) Stoney Creek High School and graduated in 2009. He talked briefly with Michigan State and Purdue but cited that "they wanted nothing to do me me."
"I had two options back then, sign with Central or Eastern Michigan," Fisher said. "I wasn't one of those guys that went around trying to sell myself. I just loved the staff at Central Michigan, signed with them and never looked back."
Over the past four years Fisher has grown and developed into one of the nation's premiere offensive players. He now stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 306-pounds. Many feel he will be the second offensive tackle off the board and a top ten selection.
"I want to be the No. 1 guy," Fisher said. "That's my goal and I have put in the hard work. I have come from a small school. On the field I play with a chip on my shoulder when it comes to football. It's who I am as a player.
"It took a while but I put on 70-pounds or so. There has been growth but I know I have a lot of room to improve whether it comes to my body or just to be physically better. I want to be a well-rounded tackle. I want to be a dominant run block and I don't ever want my quarterback touched."
Central Michigan was also the college home of current San Francisco offensive tackle Joe Staley. Like Fisher, Staley went to Central Michigan as a tight end before blossoming into a NFL first round offensive tackle. The two have spoken a bunch over the past few years and have now grown close.
"He's a role model for me for sure," Fisher said. "I remember when I first got to Central Michigan and I saw a poster of him in the office. He came in as a tight end like me. He showed me what is possible. Now we talk and have been talking a lot lately."
Staley gave Fisher some advice going into last month's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Fisher was arguably the top prospect at that event.
"He told me not to take one play off and finish every play," Fisher said. "I knew what I had to do going down there and I was on a mission. I had to prove what I was all about."
Now, just over two months until the NFL Draft, Fisher is preparing himself, as his ultimate goal of becoming a professional football player is within his grasp.
"Hey, I appreciate all the teams that are showing interest in me," Fisher said. "It's been amazing so far. I am watching my dream become a reality. I will continue to do what I have to do. It's just a surreal experience."