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July 21, 2010

Fisher found a home at Michigan

Michigan State made a push, while Notre Dame picked up the interest later. In the end, Traverse City (Mich.) West offensive line prospect Jacob Fisher felt more comfortable at Michigan, opting for the Wolverines over their two rivals.

Cincinnati and others were also in the mix, but Fisher - now 6-7 and 269 pounds, he reported after a visit to the doctor - said one last trip to Ann Arbor to meet with the coaches and players in the days leading up to his press conference solidified what he'd known for some time.

"They really made me feel like I fit in," he said. "Players came up and shook my hand, talked to me a little more, made me feel at home. Before that I had kind of made a decision, so when I went there it all worked out."

Michigan State initially recruited Fisher as a tight end, where he'll see plenty of time this fall (while switching to offensive tackle during spread situations and seeing extensive time on defense, as well). With Fisher's decision looming, MSU coaches broke down film for the standout and told him they'd bring him in as a tackle, too, unless he kept his weight down enough to play tight end.

"That wasn't likely to happen," Fisher noted.

Notre Dame, meanwhile -- a Fisher family favorite over the years - informed him early that they only had one spot remaining for a tackle, and he wasn't number one on the priority list.

That changed several weeks later when Michigan offered. By that time, Fisher had moved on.

"They were hoping for another kid to commit," he recalled. "Once I got the Michigan offer they said, 'hey, we have one more scholarship at that position. Come on down [for a visit].' By that time I had already been down to Michigan and loved it. I really liked it down there."

Through the spread offense requires athletic linemen, Fisher said he watched enough film at both Michigan and Michigan State to realize what he'd be doing in each offense would be pretty similar.

Now it's all about the preparation. Fisher's admittedly made huge strides in the weight room, spending three days a week on heavy lifting and conditioning with a full body workout. He's packed on 24 pounds since the end of basketball season and is carrying the weight well, maintaining his quickness.

His athleticism was on display at the Michigan summer camp when he went up (and held his own) against some of the top defensive ends in the Midwest, including U-M commitment Brennen Beyer.

"I really felt like I played pretty well," he said. "There were a lot of good players from a couple of states there, but I felt I held my own."

He continues to develop relationships, meanwhile, with the Michigan staff. Line coach Greg Frey has made trips to Traverse City each of the past three years to participate in a charity event for children held by head coach Tim Wooer, well before Fisher emerged as a big time prospect. Frey's approach - "tough, but not degrading" - and his demeanor throughout the recruiting process was another big reason for U-M's emergence to No. 1.

With his recruitment out of the way, Fisher will now concentrate on helping West rebound from a disappointing, 4-5 season. He'll likely be one of the catalysts if the team plays as well as he expects.

"We're looking at a playoff run, and I'm thinking 8-1 at the worst," he said. "Hopefully we'll have a big year."

Individually, that's all but a guarantee for Michigan's newest commitment.

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