Fast, athletic LB prospect played in every game as a rookie in 2014, after being producer in multiple stat categories at University of Arizona ... Made his first career start, as an injury replacement, at SLB on Dec. 22 vs. Denver ... Began college career as super-size safety and switched to LB prior to his junior season.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in sixth round of 2014 NFL Draft (212th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 5-21-14.
2014 highlights: Played Games 1-16 (one start), and in Wild Card playoff ... In regular season, had five tackles on defense, three on special teams, a pass defensed and a QB hit ... Had five additional tackles on defense in playoff 1-4-15 at Indianapolis, seeing increased action following injury to LB Rey Maualuga ... Saw extensive action on defense on Oct. 19 at Indianapolis, following injury to WLB Vontaze Burfict, and recorded four tackles and a QB ... Recorded a pass defensed on Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore, nearly intercepting a Joe Flacco pass, but juggling the ball as he went out of bounds ... Made first career NFL start on Dec. 22 vs. Denver, replacing injured Emmanuel Lamur at SLB, and recorded one tackle on defense and one on special teams.
College: Played four seasons (2010-13) at Arizona, seeing action in 50 games ... Had 35 starts, including every game as a junior and senior ... His busy career stat line includes 272 tackles, 27 tackles-for-loss, 7.5 sacks, five INTs, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and eight passes defensed ... Finished second on team in tackles (93) in 2013 as Arizona went 8-5, with Independence Bowl win over Boston College ... Helped lead Wildcats to 8-5 records with bowl wins in each of his last two seasons.
Personal: Hometown is Phoenix, Ariz. ... Attended Millennium High School, where he earned Class 5A all-state honors as a two-way senior ... Rushed for 1247 yards and 16 TDs as a senior, while logging 46 tackles and two INTs on defense ... Selected for U.S. Army All-America game following his senior campaign ... Majored at Arizona in social behavior and human understanding ... First name is pronounced “mar-KEECE(rhymes with ‘peace’).”
The Bengals’ Mike Nugent is halfway to his goal of kicking 20 years in the NFL. Which means if he makes it, half his career will come dealing with extra points that weren’t as automatic as they were during his first 10 seasons.
The spine of the Bengals locker room still runs through Andrew Whitworth and Domata Peko. But young leaders like Jeremy Hill (above) and Giovani Bernard are emerging.
The addition of four rookie tight ends means, for the moment, the Bengals can let Ryan Hewitt continue to develop into what some in the building already see as potentially the NFL's best fullback.