As wonderful as it is, Division III football has never been considered anywhere near an NFL factory. Since 1991, only 17 players claiming a D3 school as their alma mater have been drafted, and though nine players from college football’s lowest division began last season as active players on NFL rosters last season, their presence is still a drop-in-the-bucket, players less Hollywood than wearing a blue collar on their jerseys.
This could all change with Hobart’s Ali Marpet, who has been making serious moves in the pro football rumor mills in the lead up to draft day.
The fastest offensive lineman at the 2015 NFL combine, Marpet was a stranger to everyone outside of the D3 media bubble until several days ago. A first team All-American his senior year in Geneva, Marpet started all 13 games for the nationally-ranked Statesmen, leading them to the very top of the Liberty League. Though one of the weaker conferences in the nation, Marpet served as the anchor of one of its finest offenses, becoming the first player in league history to win offensive player of the year.
Though his accolades were many, Marpet seemingly came out of nowhere, showing absolutely no prodigious signs coming out of high school. A relatively lanky 260 lbs. entering his freshman year, the Hastings High School alum was a second team All State selection out of one of Westchester County’s largest schools. Though New York is rarely regarded as an elite football state, some talent lacking proper development in high school eventually improves once they get to the college level.
In Marpet’s case, it came in both the weight room and the dining hall, the offensive lineman gaining 20 lbs between his freshman and sophomore years, reaching 290 by his junior year, when he was named captain. A big off-season later, and Marpet is NFL material.
There are some doubters, however. Though he was pitted against Division I caliber talent in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, some scouts are still worried playing against inferior talent in college could hurt his chances. This video of him destroying a USC linebacker, however, could eliminate those fears.
Though Brockport has had some recent pro-level talent recently, including 2014 graduate Bruce Doyle, we’ve gotta say it’s a good feeling to have someone waving the flag for us little guys.