When the 2017 NFL season kicks off, Hobart College alumnus Ali Marpet ’15 will be stepping into two new positions.
During the offseason, Marpet was nominated for and voted by his teammates to serve as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ team representative to the NFL Players’ Association. At the NFLPA annual meeting, he became one of 11 players on the union’s finance committee, a fitting role for Marpet, who studied economics at HWS.
And, just last month, Bucs’ Head Coach Dirk Koetter announced that the team would experiment with moving Marpet from guard to center. When discussing the possible change with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Koetter described Hobart’s most famous gridiron great with phrases like, “Tremendous run blocker” “Communicator” and “Good in the screen game.”
A couple of days later, Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, heaped even more praise on Marpet.
“Just from my analysis, I think Ali is a great guard,” McCoy told the Times’ Greg Auman. “I think he’ll be a dominant, like next-level center in my personal opinion.”
Fans will get an inside look at Marpet’s tryout at center. The HBO documentary series Hard Knocks recently announced that the Buccaneers would be featured on this season’s edition of the show. The first episode is scheduled to debut on Aug. 8.
When Marpet was asked if there were lessons he carries with him from his Hobart experience, he eagerly endorsed the Napier Leadership Seminar.
“I’m a big fan of the Napier Leadership Seminar,” Marpet says. “Everything in the seminar I’ve been able to apply to my role as an athlete, and those lessons are equally applicable to the business world.”
Marpet also expects to transfer some of the lessons he learned in the classroom in his role as the Bucs’ player rep as the union and the NFL address player safety and other issues not covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
Marpet’s steady play and development over his first two seasons in the NFL hasn’t gone unnoticed. He started 13 games as a rookie in 2015, earning a spot on Mel Kiper’s All-Rookie Team. In his second season in the league, Marpet was one of only two Buccaneer offensive linemen to play every offensive down. In addition to playing all 1,089 offensive snaps, he also played on the extra point and field goal units, adding 65 more plays.
Last month, Marpet was recognized by NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison with a spot on his All-Under 25 Team. According to Pro Football Focus, Marpet was Tampa Bay’s most effective offensive lineman and was the league’s fifth-best run blocking guard last season.
At Hobart, Marpet was a three-year starter at left tackle. The three-time first team All-Liberty League selection served as a team captain as a junior and senior. Marpet was named a 2014 All-American by the AFCA, the Associated Press, and D3football.com. He was also the 2014 Liberty League Co-Offensive Player of the Year, the first offensive lineman to ever win the award.
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.
Marpet was taken by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the 61st overall pick, the highest a Division III player has ever been selected.