Like most kids who grow up in Nebraska, Cole Fisher grew to love and cherish the Nebraska football team.
His father played football at Nebraska, earning a letter as a cornerback in 1983. Cole’s older brother, Sean Fisher, also starts at linebacker for the current Nebraska team, which faces Iowa in the regular-season finale on Friday at Kinnick Stadium.
It was Nebraska and nothing else really mattered until Cole went through the recruiting process. That’s when his loyalty shifted to Iowa. It wasn’t a case of Cole doing the unthinkable by picking Iowa over his beloved Cornhuskers, but rather a case of Cole making the best out of his situation.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini didn’t offer Cole Fisher a scholarship, so rather than walking on at Nebraska, Cole embraced a new opportunity that came with an offer from Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
Cole didn’t wait around for a Nebraska offer, either, committing to Iowa in July before his senior year of high school.
“I grew up a huge Nebraska fan, that was always where I thought I’d end up playing,” said Cole Fisher, a 6-foot-2, 218-pound redshirt freshman linebacker. “But once I got into the recruiting process and got to know more about Iowa, I really fell in love with this program.”
Cole loves his big brother and he knows what’ll be at stake when the teams square off Friday.
A victory would make Nebraska (9-2, 6-1) the Legends Division champion and put it in the Big Ten title game.
But it would also come at the expense of Cole’s new favorite team and that’s just unacceptable to him.
“It’s kind of funny because everyone always thinks that I’m still in love with the Huskers,” Fisher said. “It’s a weird and complicated situation. Obviously, I still root for him, but that’s about as far as it goes with the team.”
Despite Iowa’s struggles this season, Cole Fisher said he expects his brother and his Nebraska teammates to be focused entirely on the task at hand.
“This is their game to get into the Big Ten championship,” Cole said. “I don’t think they’ll take us lightly at all.”
Cole also expects the Nebraska fans to do their part by making their presence felt at Kinnick Stadium with as many as 15,000 expected to attend the game.
“I’m sure there is going to be (plenty of red),” Cole said. “I’m sure it’ll be crazy because both fans are very loyal and very loud, too. So it’ll be interesting.”
Cole Fisher represents the future of an Iowa program that has fallen on hard times, losing 16 of its last 28 games. He is listed as the backup to junior Anthony Hitchens at weak-side linebacker and has played some on special teams this season.
“If you look at our team there are a lot of young players,” Cole Fisher said. “There is really not a ton of experience.
“So I think as we grow and get more accustomed to the defense and the offense, I think they’ll be a big turnaround here in a year or two.”
Cole’s resemblance to his older brother is striking based on their head shots in each team’s media guide.
The biggest difference, which might explain why Nebraska didn’t offer Cole a scholarship, is that he’s four inches shorter than Sean , who is listed at 6-6 and 230 pounds.
They both were stars at perennial power Millard North High School in Omaha, each earning first-team all-state honors twice.
Football has been good to both brothers, but it doesn’t dominate their relationship. In fact, they both use each other as sort of an escape from the daily grind of playing college football at the highest level.
The family, including Sean, will gather at Cole’s house in Iowa City over the weekend to have a post-Thanksgiving feast.
“We actually talk very little about football, which kind of surprises people,” Cole said. “Because usually when we talk it’s when we go home and that’s always kind of been the place where we get away from football.
“Obviously, everyone knows that it kind of takes hold of your life at this level.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football