LINCOLN — Nebraska's football coaches opened the door wide to linebacker Sean Fisher returning for his sixth season of eligibility.
Monday, Fisher closed the door and looked ahead to his future in medicine. He'll leave the Huskers' program with the rest of a large senior class and head to medical school in the fall.
“The opportunity to be part of this football program the past five years has been a great experience and one that is difficult to walk away from, but I made the determination it was time to move on,” Fisher said in a release from NU. “I am planning to enroll in medical school in the fall and am putting all my energy toward preparing for that.
“I appreciate Coach (Bo) Pelini and the coaching staff leaving the door open for me to consider returning to football and giving me the time to finalize my decision.”
Fisher's departure means that Nebraska will have to replace all three starting linebackers. Will Compton and Alonzo Whaley were, like Fisher, fifth-year seniors. Had Fisher returned, he not only would have competed to start, but could have served as a mentor to juniors Zaire Anderson and Trevor Roach, sophomores David Santos and Max Pirman, and redshirt freshmen Michael Rose, Jared Afalava and Thomas Brown.
But the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder is set to graduate with a double major in pre-medicine and business administration. He's maintained a 4.0 grade-point average in college so far, and was named a second-team Academic All-American in 2011 and 2012.
Fisher missed the 2008 and 2010 seasons with injuries that gave him a shot at a sixth year of eligibility. The 2010 injury — a broken leg that included torn tendons — occurred in fall camp, where Fisher had established himself as the team's top linebacker.
Though he rehabbed quickly enough to return for 2011 spring camp, he was slowed throughout the following season, and finished with 24 tackles. He doubled that number in 2012, finishing with 48 tackles. The Millard North graduate finished his career with 107 total tackles.
Of NU's returning linebackers, only Santos played in more than five games. Anderson, who played on a torn ACL for three games before doctors discovered it, is an early-look candidate to start, as well. Rose and Roach are expected to battle to replace Compton in the middle. Brown is seen as the best pass-rusher of the group, while Afalava's 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame is similar to Fisher.
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