Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Missouri is going to need all hands on deck for its inaugural season in the SEC. And fortunately for the Tigers, one of the most experienced, most valuable of those hands is returning to the team for a sixth year of eligibility to take a crack at the nation's top conference.
The father of Missouri senior left tackle Elvis Fisher confirmed to the Columbia Daily Tribune Tuesday that this son had been granted an extra season of eligibility and would be returning to the field this fall. After redshirting in 2007, Fisher started every game for the Tigers his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons before tearing his patellar tendon in fall camp 2011. Fisher was an honorable mention All-Big 12 lineman in 2009 and 2010 and would have set a new team record for consecutive starts had he remained healthy.
The NCAA told Missouri officials Tuesday that Fisher's resulting application for a medical hardship waiver had been approved. Fisher celebrated the news himself on Twitter:
Fisher's father, Jeff Fisher, told the Tribune the family had not been certain Elvis would play a sixth year even if the NCAA granted the waiver.
“We hashed it out,” Jeff said. “We decided, ‘If they say yes, let’s do this' ... If they said no, we were going to be doubling up our efforts to try and get into the NFL. But this way gives him more prep time to get stronger and faster, have another year, and play the first year in the SEC. It’s exciting."
Assuming he returns to full strength by the start of the 2012 season, Fisher will give the Tigers three returning starters on their offensive line--no small positive considering some of the defensive lines Mizzou will face this year.
Though reportedly "ahead of his recovery plan," Fisher's availability for the Tigers' spring drills is still to be determined.
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