SIGNING DAY 2006 - Ray Fisher

In Ray Fisher's mind, he knows there are a lot of college coaches around the country that made a big mistake.

In Ray Fisher's mind, he knows there are a lot of college coaches around the country that made a big mistake.

After partially tearing his ACL before the start of his senior season, the 5-9, 167-pound wide receiver from Cleveland's Glenview H.S. saw his recruiting interest slow down noticeably. While he was still getting offers from Indiana and a handful of mid-majors, the college football heavyweights backed off, unsure about how long he'd be out, and in what sort of shape he'd be in when he was able to get back on the playing field.

That experience provided the IU-bound wideout with plenty of incentive to devote himself to his rehabilitation, and to sending a message to those programs that looked in other directions on the recruiting front.

"The people that backed off of me, they will be getting it," said Fisher.

That's a long list of schools, many of which will dot the Indiana schedule during the next several years.

"LSU, Wisconsin, Illinois had all said they were offering me a scholarship," said Fisher. "I was talking with Ohio State, Maryland and a bunch of other schools and they had somewhat said they were offering me, but they backed off, too. All the teams that backed off, they are going to regret it."

Indiana wasn't one of those that backed off, instead sticking by their original scholarship offer. Fisher eventually picked the Hoosiers over Ball State and Eastern Michigan, and he's appreciative of the fact IU Coach Terry Hoeppner gave him the chance to play in the Big Ten.

"That meant a lot to me that they stuck with me throughout the recruiting process and through my injury," said Fisher. "It made me feel real comfortable. They coaches and the players are good people."

Among those that stood out to Fisher was Hoeppner, whom he is excited to have the chance to play for.

"I wanted to be around a coach that was like my high school coach, Coach (Ted) Ginn, and I think Coach Hoeppner is very similar in what he brings to the table," said Fisher. "The confidence that he has in himself and the people around him is very reassuring."

The Indiana staff, meanwhile, has been pleased to hear that Fisher has been recovering well from his knee injury. He says he's approximately 85 percent right now, and that he should be cleared to begin competing in high school track by March.

"I should be more than 100 percent (by the fall)," said Fisher. "I am going to come back bigger, faster and stronger. I ran a 4.3 (in the 40) before the injury, and I plan to be even faster this summer."

When he arrives on IU's campus, it will represent more than just the start of a promising football career. Fisher will also be the first person from his immediate family to go to college, and headed in a much better direction than he originally thought he might.

"It means a lot to me," said Fisher. "From where I came up at I really wasn't ever expecting to go to college. Really I didn't even think I would graduate (from high school). Being around people like Coach Ginn made me realize that there is more to life than what I thought there was. He expanded my mind and gave me bigger thoughts and goals for myself instead of just thinking about the little stuff."

Now, the bigger things include Big Ten football at Indiana University and the chance to make a name for himself against some of the country's best.

"I wanted to be somewhere that I could compete with the big schools and the big players," said Fisher. "It wasn't a hard choice for me. I'm excited to get things going at Indiana." Top Stories