April 07, 2015

Ali Marpet is one of the most unlikely prospects in this year's NFL draft.

The Division III offensive lineman from Hobart College wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl against some of college football's best, then measured up to other top prospects at the combine.

Marpet, 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, is sharing his path to the April 30-May 2 draft in Chicago with The Associated Press. It's been a busy few weeks for Marpet, packed with individual workouts for NFL teams and trips to team facilities. He also is still brushing up on his craft. Catching up with Marpet isn't easy these days, but we did during a pit stop.

Q: Where are you?

A: ''In Atlanta to train with Chip Smith (owner of Chip Smith Performance Systems). I'm only going to be here for a couple more days, then out for more individual workings. It's a unique opportunity to be working out with pro guys and some other coaches that I haven't had a chance to work with. It's hard to turn that down.''

Q: You'd rather not say where you have been, but give us an idea of what team visits have been like?

A: ''The individual workouts have been real cool. Being in the facility for an NFL team was just a surreal opportunity. I was talking with the GM, head coach, offensive line coach, OC (offensive coordinators).

''The workouts have been cool because I have opportunities to learn from NFL coaches. Part of the game is being coachable. There are some aspects of my game that might be a little bit raw, so I'm excited to learn from guys who have been doing it a long time.

''I'm kind of an open book at this point. I'm just trying to soak up as much information as I can. I'm around a lot of smart people.''

Q: Between visits and teams coming to Geneva, New York (where Hobart is located), to work you out, how busy are you these days?

A: ''I've only had a couple days of free time. Up until April 22, I think I've got one or two days that are free, really. So far most of the workouts have been up at school, but more and more until April 22, they're going to be team visits.''

Q: Is it hard to keep up with a diet when you are so busy?

A: ''The nutritionist has actually been huge with me. She's been helping me keep my weight up. I feel good right now. Traveling and keeping weight on is usually a difficult thing.

''It's an aspect of my game that I have control over. When I'm traveling it's a bit harder, so I just have some protein bars. When I've got a regular schedule, I'll try to get in like four or five meals. I have a gold meal plan (at school), so I can take advantage of that quite often.''

Q: Have you decided how you will spend draft days?

A: ''I plan to be with my family, down in my basement. That's the only place I could be on draft day, with some family and friends.''

Q: Will it be a big party?

A: ''It's hard to say no to people. I think NFL Network might be coming through draft day. That's going to be a little bit different, but I'm going to try to keep it as small as I can.

Q: Would you like to attend the draft?

A: ''Honestly, even if I was invited I would want to stay home because that's the only place I could envision myself being drafted. Even if it was in New York, I think I'd still be down in my basement.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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