Pro football is no sure thing for Goodpasture grad, especially during lockout

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 10:04pm

For Mark Fisher, this is his one shot to make sure his dream comes true.

With the NFL draft a month away, he knows his chance to become a professional football player relies heavily on how he fares at a Pro Day at Middle Tennessee State at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Even so, Fisher, who will graduate from MTSU in May, isn’t looking at the one-chance process as intimidating.

“To have the chance to go to the next level is exciting. I don’t think it is nerve-wracking,” the former Goodpasture High star said. “As long as you are prepared, then you shouldn’t be nervous.”

Fisher, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound right tackle, is one of several Blue Raiders expected to work out in front of as many as 18 scouts at Floyd Stadium. Dwight Dasher (quarterback), Phillip Tanner (running back), Emmanuel Perez (defensive end), Garrett Andrews (wide receiver), Kevin Brown (safety), Jarrett Crittenton (defensive end), Antwan Davis (linebacker), Rod Issac (defensive back), Jeremy Kellem (safety) and Jamari Lattimore (defensive end) will all join Fisher as they take part in a series of drills.

A similar Pro Day will take place at Tennessee State at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Defensive backs Eugene Clifford and Marquez Hall, running back Preston Brown and wide receiver Joseph Hills, along with seniors from Austin Peay and Western Kentucky will work out for professional scouts.

For Fisher, who graduates in May with a biology degree, he said he started to grasp the reality of playing in the NFL last year, after his junior season.

“I feel like I have the ability and the size and strength to keep up with the professionals,” Fisher said. “It is very important. Every kid has a dream and this is my dream. Everybody has the dream to be a fireman, a policeman, or a doctor or a lawyer. There are a lot of people who have dreams of being a professional athlete ... but it is very rare that dreams come true.”

It could be even harder for that to happen this year. With the NFL lockout underway, the draft will still take place. But, currently, those who go undrafted will not be able to sign as free agents as in years past.

That makes Thursday’s Pro Day even more important.

“It is kind of scary,” Fisher said. “That is a lot to swallow. All you can do is hope and pray that the lockout changes and it goes from there. Right now, I am just going in open-minded and [Thursday] is going to decide my fate.”