Three years ago, Central Michigan University alumni, students, faculty and staff were ecstatic when the No. 1 NFL draft pick was announced as one of their own. Today, with the 2016 draft about to unfold, CMU announces the 2013 star — Kansas City Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher — has agreed to return this fall as homecoming grand marshal.
The appearance is possible because Fisher and the Chiefs have a bye on Oct. 8.
Fisher — a graduate of Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills who majored in mechanical engineering technology during his time at CMU — was the first No. 1 NFL draft pick in Mid-American Conference history.
"When I received the call from Coach Bono and he told me I was selected to be grand marshal, I thought it was a huge honor," Fisher said. "It seems every year my bye week lands on an away game for CMU so I haven't been able to attend a game in such a long time. So not only do I get to come back for a game, but on top of that it's the homecoming game. It will be a special day!"
Fisher — an offensive lineman for the Central Michigan football team for four years — is only the fourth offensive tackle ever to be drafted No. 1 in the history of the draft, and only two other players from Group of 5 programs have gone No. 1. The Group of 5 is comprised of the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the Sun Belt Conference.
"It may have been difficult for Eric Fisher to imagine actually playing in the NFL, let alone becoming CMU's first No. 1 overall NFL draft pick," said Bob Martin, CMU's vice president for advancement. "CMU, however, is the kind of place where things you never imagined come true."
CMU Athletic Director Dave Heeke says it will be great to have Fisher back on campus to interact with the football team and alumni in Mount Pleasant for homecoming.
"We are excited to welcome Eric back to campus this fall. He has been a fantastic ambassador for CMU since coming here in 2009 and continues to be one of our most high-profile alums," Heeke said. "Being selected the No. 1 draft pick in 2013 brought unbelievable attention to Central Michigan and raised our national profile."
CMU will take on Ball State in the 2016 homecoming game – the team Fisher played in his very first game as a Chippewa.
"I'm always watching what is going on back at my alma mater. I love what Coach Bono is doing with the program and the direction he's heading with the team," Fisher said. "I'm looking forward to coming back and spending the day with my fellow Chippewas. Fire up!"
Look for more details on homecoming festivities in coming months.