It’s a remarkable story nobody expected. How did two division 3 football players become NFL teammates despite taking very different paths?
Meet Ali Marpet, an offensive tackle from Hobart College in Upstate NY. Marpet was an unheard of prospect finishing up his football career until he received an invite to the Senior Bowl via area scout Andre Ford. Ford began noticing Marpet’s athleticism due to his excellent pass protection, physical awareness, and his dominant pancakes on opponent defensive linemen. After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, Marpet attended the NFL combine. It was here that he showcased his athletic ability the most by recording the fastest 40-yard dash for an offensive linemen with a time of 4.98.
Jason Licht, the GM for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, expressed key issues heading into the draft at OL as well as selecting a franchise QB. However, Licht thought more along the lines of drafting a big school player until scout Andre Ford mentioned Ali Marpet. Despite questioning his ability to compete at the next level, Licht traded up in the 2015 NFL Draft to select Marpet 61st overall, making him the highest player drafted in Division 3 history.
Now with the Buccaneers drafting Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston, Marpet soon found himself blocking for the best QB in college football, a dream that at times looked impossible. Last season, the two joked about how Marpet’s Alma mater Hobart College would beat Winston’s Alma mater Florida State in a game. Currently Marpet starts at right tackle for the Bucs and is looking forward to another strong campaign in his 2nd season in the NFL.
Now meet Donteea Dye, a wide receiver from Division 3 Heidelberg. Despite posting an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Dye remained undrafted after the conclusion of the 2015 NFL Draft.
However, you know what team brought him into training camp? That’s right folks, it was Jason Licht’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The GM saw the talent that Dye displayed and after an impressive preseason, it was Dye catching passes from the Famous Jameis Winston. Dye finished his 1st season in the NFL with 10 catches for 127 yds and a touchdown. With continued training with fellow star wide receiver Mike Evans, Donteea Dye could very well be a key factor for Tampa this season. There you have it, two Division 3 products making a difference in the NFL. So, are you feeling overlooked? #Motivation