Get Up, Stand Up
With a strong senior year, Nico Marley is hoping to improve Tulane football and his prospects for a professional career.
One of Bob Marley’s more famous lyrics says, “One good thing about music is when it hits you feel no pain.” The same thing can’t be said about the reggae legend’s grandson, Tulane linebacker Nico Marley.
Entering his senior year, Marley is the most recognizable player on Tulane’s squad. He has been a starter since the day he arrived on the Uptown campus, and will be a linchpin in new head coach Willie Fritz’s defense this season.
“I’m looking forward to more wins, most importantly,” Marley said. “Also looking forward to having the best year I’ve had yet at Tulane. I want to finish out my career strong and not leave anything on the field.”
That’s an exciting prospect for the Green Wave, who finished 3-9 the past two seasons. Marley was named an All American Athletic Conference first-team selection last season, after leading the Green Wave defense with 82 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one interception and one sack.
Listed at 5 feet, 10 inches, and 208 pounds, Marley is undersized, but his speed, athleticism and knowledge of the game have made him exceptional despite his relatively small stature. This offseason he’s been working on developing his leadership skills as an extra attribute to help him make it to the next level.
“I’ve been a guy who our team has looked to as a leader. I’ve led by example, but I need to take a larger step in providing vocal leadership,” he said. “I want to do my best to live out my dream. I’ve wanted to play pro ball my whole life. I’ll have to do things I haven’t done yet.”
Marley has learned a lot about football and defenses from his father, Rohan, who played linebacker at the University of Miami from 1992-1994, alongside future NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and later in the Canadian Football League.
Marley and his style of play have drawn comparisons to beloved former New Orleans Saints defensive captain Sam Mills (5 feet, 9 inches, 232 pounds). He is hoping the characteristics he shares with Mills will help him reach his goal of playing professional football.
“Sam Mills was a great player on the field and off the field,” Marley said. “I’m honored to be compared to him.”
For now, though, he’s focusing on wrapping up his marketing degree and getting his teammates ready for the coming season.
“I love seeing our players grow and get molded into who and what they’re supposed to be and want to be,” he said. “Not everyone is able to start right away. Some are redshirted. I’ve been ahead of the pack, but to see other players have the opportunity to do what I know they are capable of is an awesome feeling.
“I’m looking to do great things with these guys.”
Nico Marley at a glance
Name: Nicolas Marley
Height / Weight: 5-10 / 208
DOB: Jan. 5, 1995
Major: Business, marketing
Hometown: Weston, Fla.
High School: Cypress Bay
Career stats: 37 games with 36 starts, 231 career tackles (145 solo, 86 assisted), including 36.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions, five pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries
Accolades: 2015 All American Athletic Conference First Team selection; 2014 All American Athletic Conference Honorable Mention honors; 2013 Conference USA Co-Freshman of the Year, C-USA All-Freshman Team
Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he’s not writing, he’s avid about music, the outdoors, and Saints, Ole Miss and Chelsea football.