Marpet ’15 Makes History

by Ken DeBolt

According to the NCAA, the probability of a student making the jump from high school to college football is just 6.5 percent and the chances of going from college to the NFL are a mere 1.6 percent. Don’t tell that to Hobart’s Ali Marpet ’15.

The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Statesman made history on May 1 becoming the highest Division III student ever drafted in the NFL. Marpet, an All-American offensive lineman, was selected in the second round with the 61st pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In June, the rookie guard signed a four-year contract with the team.

“It’s a huge honor,” Marpet said after his first day at Buccaneers minicamp in May. “The reality is there are a lot of Division III players that want to play on so it’s a huge opportunity. It’s hard not to wake up and feel grateful, so every rep that I’m going to get, I’m going to make count.”

According to, Marpet is the first Division III student drafted since 2012 and the first Division III offensive lineman drafted since 1996.

“I think Ali has done a great job throughout his career, developing into a great young man with superb character and athletic ability,” Hobart Head Coach Mike Cragg P’12 says. “He has worked harder every single year. The fact that he’s the highest Division III draft pick ever says a lot about what, not only the Buccaneers thought of him, but what a lot of other NFL teams thought as well. He’s going to do a great job.”

One of the top stories of this year’s draft, Marpet shot up draft boards with an eyeopening performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January and an elite performance at the NFL Scouting Combine a month later. The only Division III student invited to either event, he showcased his versatility and athleticism by playing tackle, guard and center for a North squad that rushed for 186 yards in a 34-13 win. 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.

Buccaneers’ Head Coach Lovie Smith isn’t concerned about how Marpet will handle the transition from DIII to the NFL: “…the Senior Bowl is good. You bring everybody together and you see how some of the small college players, how they can handle playing against the big boys and Ali did a great job with that.”

Marpet has been featured on the NFL Network, ESPN and CBS Sports Network, national publications like Sports Illustrated and USA Today as well as newspapers in every NFL market.

During his senior season at Hobart, Marpet led one of the most effective offensive lines in the nation and didn’t allow a sack for a line that ranked sixth in the nation in fewest sacks allowed (0.69/g). Marpet was named to the AFCA and 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.

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 Liberty League Championships and appear in four NCAA Division III Football Championships, reaching the quarterfinals in 2012 and 2014.

Off the field, Marpet has impressed as well. Hobart Dean Eugen Baer P’95, P’97 told the NFL Network, “He has this balance which is so incredible, producing a sync between physical fitness and mental excellence. That’s Ali. That’s what he aspired towards, to graduate from Hobart College with a degree in economics, a minor in philosophy, and a minor in public policy. That’s him. And then there is the football. Wow!”

THE STATESMEN AND THE NFL lists two previous Statesmen as NFL draftees. Vic Maitland ’44 was the first, going to the New York Giants in the fifth round in 1944. Bob Williamson ’48 was the most recent, selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions in 1948. Neither man played in an NFL game. If Marpet plays in the NFL, he would join an elite Hobart fraternity. According to pro-footballreference. 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.


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