Blaine Bishop stands with his wife Cella and son Chayce on Father’s Day of 2016. Bishop transferred to Ball State from St. Joseph's College before being drafted by the Houston Oilers in 1993. Blaine Bishop // Photo Provided
For the Record: Former Ball State football player Blaine Bishop went from D-II to NFL
Editor's note: "For the Record" is a weekly series featuring former stand-out Ball State athletes and their lives after college.
Blaine Bishop raced home from Bracken Library during the 1993 NFL Draft.
He was a few months removed from his final season playing for Ball State football and had gone to study after a couple of teams called earlier in the draft but didn't take him.
Years played at Ball State: 1990-92
HOF class: 2003-04
But this time, the Houston Oilers — one of the teams who called him earlier — actually picked him. Bishop got home just in time to see his name scroll across the bottom of the TV screen, announcing that he had been picked by the Houston Oilers in the eighth round as the 214th overall pick.
Grateful for being picked, Bishop, also known as "The Hitman," still felt slighted.
"I think internally, I'm just a guy that’s driven to be successful at whatever I was doing,” Bishop said. “If I was going to be an insurance person, I was going to be the best insurance person there. That’s just who I was, it didn’t matter what I was going to do."
Though he played in the NFL for 10 years, Bishop wasn't recruited by many universities, so he decided to join a some of his teammates from Cathedral High School at Division-II St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana.
During his freshman season, two NFL scouts went to the locker room after Bishop scored touchdowns as both a running back and defensive back in the same game.
They said he had the potential to go pro, but he might want to consider transferring to a bigger school.
"To be honest, I thought they had the wrong person," Bishop said. "I was originally not even six months removed from not even being a Division-II player.”
After being named a Division-II All-American as a freshman, Bishop transferred to Ball State. He walked on and paid for school for one semester before receiving a scholarship.
"I took a big risk, really, because if I didn't make it I probably wouldn't have made it another semester," Bishop said.
He redshirted his first season with the Cardinals, but studied game plans, teams and watched hours of film.
By his senior season, Bishop was a captain. He was named to the Mid-American Conference second team and appeared in both the annual Blue-Gray All-Star Classic and Senior Bowl before he was drafted. On March 30, Bishop will be inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame.
When he got to training camp, Bishop said his goal was to just make the practice squad and see what happened. So when he achieved that, his goals got bigger — and more personal.
"My whole attitude going into the NFL was, 'hey, what do I have to lose,'" Bishop said. "I played at Ball State in the Mid-American Conference. Nobody knows who I am anyway."
Bishop said teammates would laugh at him because nobody knew him — and at 5-feet-9-inches and 203 pounds, he was undersized by NFL standards.
"I was really there with a purpose," Bishop said. "My purpose was I got screwed in the draft and I'm going to show you guys."
"I would have been just a solid player and I always felt like if I was going to be that kind of player then I'm not going to play," Bishop said. "I'm not just trying to collect checks and be a player in the league. That’s not something that it was about for me.”
After his NFL career, Bishop began a career in TV and radio. He currently co-hosts 3HL or "Three Hour Lunch" on WGFX-FM in Nashville, Tennessee, an affiliate of the Titans Radio Network.
In December 2008, Bishop gave the annual winter commencement address at Ball State. He spoke about leadership and having the drive to be the best you can be — a motto he has lived throughout his entire life.