A national standout as the only NCAA Division III athlete at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, Hobart College football offensive lineman Ali Marpet ’15 continued to impress NFL scouts, coaches and analysts during Hobart’s Pro Day.
Held March 13, the event gave representatives from 10 NFL teams as well as the media an opportunity to watch Marpet operate on his home turf while he ran through a number of position drills, interviews and meetings. At the Pro Day activities, the Hobart football coaching and training staff were also on hand for scouts, while fellow Hobart offensive lineman DeAndre Smith ’15 matched up with Marpet on a number of drills. In addition, private workouts with Marpet have been scheduled with a number of NFL teams leading up to the draft, held April 30 through May 2.
An economics major from Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Marpet was named to the 2013 Liberty League All-Academic team. From his impressive showing at Reese’s Senior Bowl to being the only DIII player at the NFL Combine out of 300 of the nation’s top football prospects, Marpet’s trajectory has been a whirlwind.
Marpet is attempting to become the first Statesman ever taken in the NFL Draft and the first Hobart player to compete in the NFL since Fred King ’37. According to D3football.com, the last Division III player drafted was Albion cornerback Chris Greenwood, a fifth-round selection of the Detroit Lions in 2012. No Division III offensive lineman has been drafted since 1996, when Ethan Brooks of Williams went to the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh round.
On the Thursday before Pro Day, Marpet met on campus with a NFL network crew producing a new segment of “On the Clock.” The film crew followed Marpet through a typical day, starting with breakfast at Saga and including study time in the Rosensweig Learning Commons at the Warren Hunting Smith Library and a tour of campus. “On the Clock” is scheduled to air in the next two weeks. Marpet’s first “On the Clock” segment showed his workouts prior to the Combine during which Bob Whitfield, the Offensive Line Coach at CSPS, jokes: “They must have fed him well at Hobart College because the kid comes in at 300 pounds of solid muscle.” The NFL Network’s “On the Clock,” is scheduled to feature Marpet several times in the run up to the NFL Draft.
A second NFL Network crew was on campus on Friday to record Marpet’s Pro Day performance for the show “Path to the Draft.”
Leading up to Pro Day, the accolades for Marpet and HWS kept rolling in, including numerous media mentions across the country and the world. In a piece in the Bleacher Report, Dan Hope writes that Marpet “… has a chance to be the most highly drafted player from a Division III school in 25 years. No prospect from the Division III level has been a top-100 draft pick since the Seattle Seahawks selected running back Chris Warren out of Ferrum College with the 89th overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft. Since then, no Division III player has been drafted higher than the 114th overall pick, where the Jacksonville Jaguars selected wide receiver Cecil Shorts out of Mount Union in 2011.”
In his four seasons at Hobart, Marpet and his classmates posted a 41-5 record and captured four consecutive Liberty League Championships. The Statesmen also appeared in four consecutive NCAA Division III Football Championships, and reached the quarterfinal round in 2012 and 2014.
At the Combine, Marpet ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds, the fastest 40 time among the offensive linemen at the Combine. Additionally, he had the fastest 10-yard split among the linemen, at 1.74 seconds. He also placed fifth in the bench press, completing 30 reps at 225 pounds and eighth in the broad jump, clearing nine feet. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis calls him a “must-see prospect.”
On Feb. 20, Marpet was praised in a Yahoo! Sports article, “Who was fastest OL at the combine? Naturally … Hobart’s Ali Marpet,” for his abilities both on and off the field. The article, by Eric Edholm, says, “… Marpet (hence the Hobart degree) is smart, with the school producing far more hedge-fund managers than athletes, but that intelligence is considered a plus. … Marpet ranks high in the versatility category, too.”
An earlier Yahoo! Sports article about Marpet’s appearance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl reports: “If football doesn’t work out, his economics major – he hopes to go into finance one day – at one of the best schools in the country won’t hurt…And it doesn’t hurt that that there is an army of Hobart grads working at some of the best financial houses in and around New York City. He also wants to get his master’s degree in physical education – overachiever alert – so that he can teach econ and maybe coach a little, too.”
In addition to the “On the Clock” program, the NFL Network again featured Marpet on Feb. 25 during the program, “NFL AM,” in which he discussed his impressive showing at the Combine, representing HWS and his outlook on the future.
The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Marpet garnered wide spread attention for his breakout performance at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, last month. He helped the North team to a 34-13 victory in the nation’s premier senior all-star game. Marpet helped the North rush for 186 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 260 yards and another score. He showed off his athleticism and versatility by playing tackle, his natural position while at Hobart, guard and center in practice and in the game.
During the week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl, Marpet switched positions, from left tackle to left guard, and “never once appeared out of place,” according to Sports Illustrated, which also named Marpet to its All-Senior Bowl offense team.
Reese’s Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage also had high praise for Marpet, saying: “He has light feet, plays with balance and did not back down at all against the bigger school competition.” Savage called Marpet, “arguably the most intriguing player in the game,” and added that, “he is certain to be thoroughly evaluated by all 32 teams because of his position flexibility and high ceiling to improve.”