Highly Touted Wisconsin Lineman Visits CMU

With two scholarships yet remaining for the 2004 class, Central Michigan University has already begun recruiting for the following year. One of the Chippewas primary targets is rated among the top offensive linemen in the Midwest. He recently visited CMU and talked with Chippewas Insider about his experience.

Offensive tackle Jason Fiacco of Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead High School enjoys playing computer football games in his spare time.

One night last week after returning from an unofficial visit to Central Michigan University, he programmed himself as the Chippewas playing against Colorado State.

No doubt, the CMU coaching staff would love for Fiacco to be programmed onto the real Chippewa team, all 6-feet-2, 305 pounds of him.

"A lot of people think you just go to a big school if they offer, but that's not me," Fiacco said. "I want a place that has a good atmosphere, good coaches and an opportunity to play early."

Fiacco visited CMU with his family the last weekend in February. If first impressions are lasting, then the Chippewas are off to a great start in their recruitment of Fiacco.

"We enjoyed the trip up there," said Jim Fiacco, Jason's father. "We felt real comfortable with the coaches and the campus."

According to Jason, the CMU coaches told him they are recruiting him to play center, a position that will be up for grabs after this season with the graduation of senior Eric Ghiaciuc.

"Eric told me CMU is a great school and a great place to play football," Fiacco said. "My visit was real nice, the facilities and the coaches were great. (Offensive line) coach (Jeff) Quinn is enthusiastic, the kind of coach I like to play for."

Fiacco's strength is indeed one of his many strengths as an offensive lineman. He is a state record-holder in Olympic weightlifting who can bench press 415 pounds and squat 575. Last season in Hartland Arrowhead's drive for a state championship, Fiacco recorded more than 100 pancakes, a task that entails knocking an opposing player on his backside.

Rarely does a high school offensive lineman get an opportunity to play as a true freshman in college, but Fiacco might be the exception.

"Coach Quinn told me it's possible if I work hard I could play my first year there," Fiacco said.

Of course, CMU is not the only school interested in Fiacco. Although he's been told by his high school coach not to divulge his scholarship offers just yet, Fiacco did indicate he already has three Division I-A offers. That number is sure to increase as more college coaches review his film and see him at camps this summer.

Fiacco said he plans to attend a number of football camps this summer, including CMU's in June. He said this will give him a better idea of Coach Quinn's expectations and coaching style. Toward the end of the summer and before fall conditioning begins, Fiacco said he'd like to make a verbal commitment.

"I want to have a good idea where I will play before the season begins, then I can concentrate on playing my senior year without too many distractions."

If Fiacco does decide to play for CMU, he could very well be snapping the ball to 2004 Chippewa signee Brian Brunner, a quarterback he played youth football against in suburban Milwaukee some years ago.

"I coached Jason's youth team and we played against Brian, he was a good quarterback then too," Jim said. "We called Brian about his CMU recruiting experience and he talked about how much he loved it there and how CMU is an up and coming program."

Perhaps someday soon Fiacco will be a Chippewa himself, snapping the ball to Brunner in CMU's drive for another Mid-American Conference title.

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