Former Wahconah standout Fiske will be preferred walk-on for UMass football
In 2006, Wahconah Regional High School football player Jared Chivers walked on at the University of Massachusetts, earning a scholarship and a starting position on the offensive line in 2009. Jordan Fiske is looking to follow a similar path today.
Fiske, who graduated in June from Wahconah, is currently enrolled at UMass and will be a preferred walk-on member of the Minuteman football team this fall.
"My number-one goal was to play at UMass," said Fiske, when reached at his dorm in Pierpont Hall in Amherst.
The former Warrior spent this fall at East Coast Prep in Great Barrington, in its postgraduate football program.
Fiske will be part of the first group of football players head coach Mark Whipple will be bringing into Amherst on his second stint as coach, trying to reverse a pair of 1-11 seasons as the Minutemen ventured into Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision football.
"It's settling in a little bit," Fiske said. "I'm going to achieve it."
National Signing Day is today, when FBS and Football Championship Subdivision schools announce their scholarship and preferred walk-on recruits.
"For us and our program, it justifies what we do. Hes a product of where he's from," Wahconah coach Gary Campbell Jr. said. "We're so excited about that. It just makes us feel so proud."
UMass was scheduled to have a Signing Day party in Amherst, but it was postponed because of the pending snowstorm. Whipple and his staff are scheduled to make the new class known in the mid-afternoon.
Fiske has grown to 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. At Wahconah, he was between 200-205.
Until the list comes out, there are only two tight ends currently on the UMass roster: Brandon Howard and Sharif Custis. Howard was a redshirt sophomore and Custis was a sophomore.
Fiske said that he had heard from numerous Division II and Division III teams in the walk-up to his graduation, but UMass was always first on his radar screen.
"The first time I talked to them was on Sept. 26, which was my birthday," he said. "It was awesome."
Shane Waldron, an assistant under former UMass coach Charley Molnar, was Fiske's first contact with UMass, and told the player that once he got his academics in order and was eligible, the Minutemen would have some interest.
The first potenial bump in the road came in late December, when Molnar was fired after two seasons. Whipple was hired last month, kept Waldron on the staff, and Fiske moved ahead with his enrollment.
The newest Minuteman likes his new coach.
"He reminds me of Coach [Gary] Campbell, who I love," Fiske said of Whipple. "I talked to him the first day. He said he was happy to have me around."
Fiske said that one of the first people he let know about his future plans was Chivers, who is now a math teacher and assistant football coach at Duxbury High School.
Chivers walked on under former coach Kevin Morris in 2006 and didn't even get a number until 2008. Chivers was a backup offensive lineman in 2008 and then started at guard next to current New York Jet Vladimir Ducasse in 2009.
"I know that he was trying to play there when he went to prep school," Chivers said of the newest Minuteman. "I'm happy for him."
The road Fiske is traveling won't be as tough as the one Chivers did, but it still won't be easy.
"[As a] preferred walk-on, he has a number and a locker," Chivers said. "It's still a tough road. He's definitely got a lot of work in front of him."
To reach Howard Herman:
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On Twitter: @howardherman.
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