Five years ago when Eric Fisher was being recruited he wasn’t on the radar of any major colleges. The Rochester, MI native was rated, barely, as a two-star offensive lineman coming out of Stoney Creek High School, where he had played on the offensive line for only one season.
Butch Jones and his offensive line coach Don Mahoney at Central Michigan were one of the only schools recruiting Fisher. He ended up committing to play for Butch Jones at CMU.
Jones coached Fisher for only one year, so he can’t take a lot of credit for the development of Fisher. Jones and Mahoney can, however, take the credit for recognizing the talent that Fisher possessed while still a high school senior.
Vol fans should take comfort in the fact that Jones has an eye for talent, and doesn’t just judge a recruit based off of a rating system.
Ratings are not always a true indicator of talent. We’ve all seen plenty of five-star players fail to develop, while lower rated players (like Fisher) end up thriving and being a top draft pick.
Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzani pointed out that very fact on Twitter this morning
3 of the Top 5 picks in the draft were unranked coming out of high school! #evaluate
— Coach Zach Azzanni (@UTCoachZA) April 26, 2013
That’s not to say Jones is going to hit on every recruit, recognizing the talent is only half the battle. Jones and his staff will have to develop that talent.
Talented players have come through Tennessee the past several years and not progressed very much from the time they arrived. Former quarterback Tyler Bray comes to mind.
I don’t think Vol fans will have to worry about that with Butch Jones — the blue collar coach has a fire that Knoxville hasn’t seen in quite some time.