“A lot more goes into [preparation] at this level,” Fletcher said prior to his second game as a Ball State Cardinal, a 57-29 win over the Fordham Rams last Saturday.
Fletcher has been running up both rushing leaderboards — and NCAA playing levels — in his career.
From Columbia, Maryland, Fletcher attended Division III Randolph-Macon out of prep school.
After a semester, he climbed to the Division II level at Edinboro University in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Now, he’s in Muncie as a star graduate transfer.
At Edinboro, Fletcher shot to the top of the depth chart within a season under former Ball State assistant Justin Lustig.
After his redshirt-freshman year, Fletcher led the Fighting Scots in rushing his next three seasons. His 3,913 yards on the ground rank third in program history. He totaled 41 touchdowns on the ground in addition to 692 receiving yards and six touchdown catches.
Fletcher’s move to Ball State has softened the potential blow in the backfield taken from the loss of James Gilbert. Gilbert transferred to Kansas State during the summer, leaving a 2,700-yard sized hole in the Cardinals’ running game.
Through two games, Fletcher has been a major factor in the offense. His 169 all-purpose yards are second on the team to Justin Hall. His primary use has been out of the backfield as a receiver.
“I can do a little bit of everything,” Fletcher said. “I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I think that’s my strong suit. Just being a nightmare for defenses is part of my game that I pride myself on.”
Fletcher’s game-day routine has been altered in 2019 with his promotion to the D1 level in the Mid-American Conference.
“Before I came here, I never ate before games,” Fletcher said. “But last week, Coach Lynch made me eat. Games here are at 2 p.m. I’m coming from D-II where we had noon games, so I have to get something light to eat.”
Fletcher also talks to his parents prior to games, but Week 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium was an anomaly.
“Lucas Oil was life-changing. There were the lights, the fans and my family came out from Maryland. It was great to have them there. Overall, it was an unforgettable experience”
Fletcher also sees a difference in the preparation from coaches at the D-I level.
“Coach Lynch gives us tips and reminders before the game, their blitzes and types of plays that we might run, so I go over that three or four times on gamedays.”
Although Fletcher is behind Caleb Huntley on the depth chart, there’s no animosity between the two running backs.
“I came here in May, and I think that helped. I told him, ‘I’m here to push you, you’re here to push me, let’s get better and be a 1-2 punch.’ We can be that.”
The punch returns Saturday for the second-ever game pairing Florida Atlantic and Ball State. Coverage from Scheumann Stadium begins Saturday at 1:45 on SL Digital Radio.