Ali Marpet ’15 has been selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, making history at the Colleges and continuing his trajectory in the national spotlight as one of this year’s top picks.
Marpet’s path to the NFL has been a whirlwind. He shot up draft boards with an eye-opening performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and an elite performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. The only Division III student-athlete invited to either event, he showcased his versatility and athleticism by playing tackle, guard and center. At the Combine, he ran the fastest 40 of any offensive lineman, was second in the three-cone drill and shuttle run, and was fifth in bench press.
“I have felt the support from Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” Marpet has said. “A lot of alums have reached out and showed their support. I am happy to be waving the flag for Hobart and representing them as best as I can.”
On the road to the NFL, Marpet has garnered high-profile attention from national and international media, including the NFL Network, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo Sports!, the Bleacher Report and The Boston Globe, among others. In a recent Sports Illustrated (SI) profile about Marpet, he was praised as the “hottest topic in NFL war rooms.” In addition, the NFL Network featured Marpet several times, including in a recent video, “On the Clock: Ali Marpet representing Hobart football,” that was filmed at HWS and contains commentary from Hobart College Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97, HON’07.
In light of Marpet’s success, Hobart College Head Football Coach Mike Cragg says: “Everyone at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is so proud of him and the best part is that the best is yet to come.”
“I’ve said throughout this process, that whatever team drafts Ali is going to get an outstanding lineman who will learn and grow and have an outstanding NFL career,” Cragg says. “The Buccaneers got an exceptional young man who is going to do great things. I have no doubt about that.”
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. [Marpet is the highest picked player from Division III since Ferrum running back Chris Warren was selected with the 90th pick by Seattle in 1990.]
Pro-football-reference.com lists two previous Statesmen as NFL draftees. Vic Maitland was the first, going to the New York Giants in the fifth round in the 1944 draft. Bob Williamson was the most recent, selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions in 1948. Neither played in an NFL game.
If Marpet plays in the NFL, he would join an elite Hobart fraternity. According to pro-football-reference.com, only four Statesmen have ever played in the NFL – and none since Fred King ’37 – who appeared in one game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1937.
The website also lists George Barna ’29 and “Babe” Kraus ’24 as NFL veterans. Barna played 17 games for the Frankford Yellowjackets in 1929 and Kraus appeared in seven games for the 1924 Buffalo Bison. Additionally, the website listed Don Dimmick as a Hobart graduate that played one game for the 1926 Buffalo Rangers, although no Dimmick is listed among the all-time letter winners for the Statesmen.
The Finger Lakes Times recently wrote about Marpet and King as well as other pro football connections to the Statesmen.
Leading up to the draft, Marpet continued to impress NFL scouts, coaches and analysts during Hobart’s Pro Day. 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.
An economics major from Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., Marpet also has been noted for his academic abilities. He has minors in philosophy and public policy studies. His agent, Andrew Ross, recognized the national standout for his intellect in an April SI article. Ross says, “Smart? I’d have him handle my money.”
In March, the NFL Network’s “On the Clock” program also featured Marpet in a highlights clip that shows the Hobart College offensive lineman training with coaches at the Combine. Bob Whitfield, Offensive Line Coach, 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 had previously 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.
In February, 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 reported in its profile of him: “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.”
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.
In the 2014 season, Marpet led one of the most effective offensive lines in the nation. He didn’t allow a sack for a line that ranked sixth in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (0.69/g). Hobart was also sixth in the nation in fewest tackles for loss allowed, yielding just 3.54 per game. Marpet was named to the AFCA and D3football.com All-America first teams and earned a spot on the AP Little All-America second team. The three-time first team All-Liberty League selection also garnered a share of the 2014 Liberty League Offensive Player of the Year award, the first offensive lineman to be so honored.
Hobart won its first 12 games this season, securing its fourth consecutive Liberty League Championship and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals before falling to then No. 4 Wesley. The Statesmen (12-1) were ranked No. 8 in the final AFCA coaches poll and No. 9 in the final D3football.com poll.
Over the past four seasons, Marpet and his classmates led Hobart football to a 41-5 record, the most wins for a graduating class in program history. Marpet helped the Statesmen capture four consecutive Liberty League Championships. Hobart has appeared in each of the past four NCAA Division III Football Championships, reaching the quarterfinal round in 2012 and 2014.
- On the Clock: Ali Marpet Representing Hobart Football
- Ali Marpet in Sports Illustrated
- On the Clock: Ali Marpet
- NFL AM with Ali Marpet
- Sports Illustrated Senior Bowl Recap with Ali Marpet
- Yahoo! Sports Features Marpet at NFL Combine
- Yahoo! Sports Features Marpet at Senior Bowl
- Ali Marpet Profiled in Boston Globe
- Ali Marpet on ESPN
- Marpet in Spotlight on Bleacher Report
- Marpet Focused on Passing the Test