With the sixty-first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Ali Marpet from Hobart College in Geneva, NY.He’s the highest pick for a Division III student-athlete in NFL history.One of the top stories of this year’s draft, Marpet shot up draft boards with an eye-opening 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-athlete 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.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.“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,” Hobart Head Coach Mike Cragg said. “The Buccaneers got an exceptional young man who is going to do great things. I have no doubt about that.“Everyone at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is so proud of him and the best part is that the best is yet to come,” Cragg said.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, surpassing Ferrum running back Chris Warren who was selected with the 90th pick by Seattle in 1990.
Ali Marpet is the FIRST player ever selected from Hobart. #NFLDraft
— #NFLDraft (@nfl) May 2, 2015
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 man 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 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.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.