Wave of the Week with Nico Marley

Jonathan Harvey, Online Sports Editor

Sophomore Linebacker Nico Marley followed last year’s Conference USA Co-Freshman of the Year honors and was awarded Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association Defensive Player of the Week. 

Marley, son of Miami Hurricane football alumni Rohan Marley, and grandson of reggae legend Bob Marley, has received plenty of national attention in a feature covered by Sports Illustrated.

The Hullabaloo sat down with Marley, asking about how he’s handled his national attention, role on Tulane’s defense and the Marley Coffee business

The Hullabaloo: You’ve gotten much more national attention this year than last year. What’s it like handling that as a student? 

Nico Marley: I mean it’s nothing. I just live like any other student. Off the field, I’m just a regular guy. 

Hull: Do people ask you about your family in classes or in your dorm?

Marley: Not so much. I am not really out a lot, besides in class. I really stay in my room and most of the day I just chill. 

Hull: Did you ever have a funny interaction when someone has come up to you and asked you about your family? 

Marley: All of the time, it happens a lot actually. It’s nothing really though because I feel like if I was in their shoes I would do the same thing so it’s pretty cool. 

Hull: Someone mentioned this to me the other day. They said, “I wonder what it’s like when Nico walks into someone’s room and sees a poster of his grandfather [Bob Marley]?”  

Marley: It just reminds me of how legendary he was. It’s an inspiration.

Hull: In your Sports Illustrated video, your family talked about the Marley name. What does the Marley name mean to you?

Marley: It’s just a real inspiration knowing what my grandfather did and what he overcame. It just makes me not necessarily feel that I can really pass that [his accomplishments], but want to do something worth remembering.

Hull: Do you feel any pressure? 

Marley: I don’t feel any pressure.

Hull: What values do you think have really rubbed off in your family?

Marley: His positivity and his energy.

Hull: The whole coffee business … do you even drink coffee? 

Marley: I don’t drink coffee. If I did, I’d drink Marley Coffee.

Hull: Your leadership this year for [Tulane’s] defense is crucial, as you really stamped yourself as one of the bigger names. What are you like in the locker room? How are you a leader?

Marley: Like I said, I’m not Ray Lewis out there. But if I see something, I let it be known. I’m not there to yell at anybody because I don’t do any of that. Everyone else on defense sees different things and we all point them out.

Hull: You mentioned Ray Lewis. He was some sort of influence on your childhood. Can you talk about that?

Marley: My father played with Ray Lewis. I met him over my eighth grade summer before I started playing football. I worked out with him, my father and my cousin Sean throughout that summer. Just seeing how dedicated he is, his motivation and just everything he does is really inspiring.

Hull: Your dad played with so many great [Miami] Hurricanes. What was it like watching him now that you are in similar shoes?

Marley: I was so young when he was playing. His last year, that’s when I was born. Looking back at it, it’s just unbelievable. I want something like that. I want something like that here at Tulane. And we sort of have it too. We have Lorenzo Doss, our [defensive] line is great with Royce LaFrance and Sam [Scofield] in the backfield, Darion [Monroe] and Taurean [Nixon] coming up well. I’m not going to say we’re ‘The U,’ but we definitely have a lot of potential on defense.

Hull: Who has been your role model since you’ve stepped [on to campus?] Here or outside, who has taken you under his or her wing?

Marley: Plenty of people [have been my role model] including my father and my grandfather.

Hull: I know your dreams are playing in the NFL, but what would you want to do with your life if that doesn’t work out?

Marley: I would love to help my father bring his business to where he wants to bring it. [I’d] help him make [Marley Coffee] a household name like Starbucks.

Hull: Your grandfather had a lot of songs about violence, women [and] just people in general. It’s so much of an issue now in the NFL with domestic violence. What are your morals on that?

Marley: I’m not really going to comment on any of that until everything settles down and all the evidence comes out. But, you know, you can’t hit women. Everybody should know that.