Tōriki in her New Zealand gear
|No. 22 – New Orleans Second Line|
|Born:||October 24, 2009 (aged 34)|
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
|Height:||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight:||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school:||Waiheke High School|
Marcella "Marce" Tōriki (born October 24, 2009) is an American football running back currently playing for the New Orleans Second Line. She played college football for University of Oregon before playing in the DSFL for the Norfolk Seawolves.
Marcella Tōriki was born to a Maori father, Nikau Tōriki, and an American mother, Elizabeth Burris. She was raised by her father on the island of Waiheke alongside her 3 half-brothers. While she had contact with her birth mother throughout her youth, they did not become close until Tōriki entered college. She cites her relationship with her brothers as what has kept her humble throughout her life.
Inspired by her father's love of the sport, Tōriki started playing rugby at an early age, first playing casually with her brothers and cousins, then soon enough as part of the local youth team. She had a seemingly natural talent for the game, pursuing it throughout her adolescence. Her competitive nature and singleminded dedication helped earn her spot on the New Zealand national team for the World Rugby Under 20s Championship in 2026 and 2027.
Not one to be dissuaded from her long-term goals, Tōriki made the difficult choice to delay her chance at furthering an international rugby career to attend college in the United States. She pursued a degree in psychology at her mother's alma mater, the University of Oregon. Tōriki was a dedicated student, balancing her full course load with work as a research assistant. During this time, she also played left wing for the UO's women's rugby team, the Dirty Ducks. A fan favorite, Tōriki led the team through two undefeated seasons.
During her freshman year of college, Marcella took part in the pick-up football match that would change her life. Fascinated by a game that asked her to use her skills differently, Marcella soon became obsessed. She switched focus, spending time with friends who could give her insight into the game. A quick study, Tōriki joined the Ducks football team as a walk-on during her sophomore year. She played the game with the same fire she brought to the rugby pitch, managing to get playtime despite her relative inexperience with the sport. Tōriki claims that rugby gave her a rock-solid foundation to build a football career on, and says that her years playing left wing have helped her hone the skills she needs as a running back.
While the transition away from the family sport was difficult for some relatives to understand, Tōriki has received tremendous support from her family. Her older brother Kauri has never missed a game.
Tōriki was drafted sixth overall in the 2032 DSFL Draft by the Norfolk Seawolves. She was a feature back for the team, ending the season with 2,689 all-purpose yards. During her time in Norfolk, she founded her non-profit Girl Strong, which focuses on creating opportunities for young women interested in football.
|Ht||Wt||40‑yd dash||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP||Wonderlic|
|5 ft 8 in
|4.3 s||3.99 s||7.03 s||30.5 in
|11 ft 0 in
Tōriki was drafted fifth overall in the 2033 ISFL Draft by the San Jose Sabercats. A slow start may have discouraged the young running back, but after conversations with the coaching staff, she was able to take more of a starring roll in the Sabercat offense. With more carries came more success for Marcella, and Toriki earned accolades as season 18's Offensive Rookie of the Year, clearing up any hesitation or worry that she had made the wrong choice in pursuing her football dreams.
Marcella Toriki played one season with San Jose before making the choice to exercise her contract option and enter into free agency. While originally she intended to return to the Sabercats under new contract terms, in the end, she made the difficult decision to sign with the New Orleans Second Line. This decision was met with fairly harsh criticism, calling into question Marcella's character, her commitment to team and her sanity. Other teams came to the table with crazy offers and promises to make Toriki a star. Seeing her go to a team that already had a stellar running back led to vocal frustration. "I was rejected so they could be a backup on a losing team" said one disgruntled manager.
With New Orleans, Toriki continued to improve as a running back, both coming away with a commendable stat line and as many wins in that one season as wins combined in her first two. Early critics of her signing believed that teammate Forrest Gump would need to move to the side in order to keep Toriki happy, but the New Orleans leadership instead combined the power of these star running backs to create a one-two punch in the run game. NOLA's two-headed monster dazzled, with both backs finishing third and seventh in rushing yards. Toriki also had the highest efficiency of any running back with over 100 touches. Prior to Toriki, the team went 5-8. After one season of Toriki, the team's record flipped, with the Second Line going 8-5
Going into her second season with the Second Line, Marcella Toriki was looking forward to another dominant season. Flying high on her nearly 1200 all-purpose yards and twelve touchdowns from season nineteen, the running back was ready to showcase the might of New Orleans. However, this season would prove difficult, as Toriki failed to find the endzone time and time again, managing only three touchdowns on the season.
Despite a season that she considered lacking, she was pleased to see the New Orleans Second Line make it into the play offs. Here, she did manage to contribute to their first playoff win, contributing 83 all-purpose yards and scoring a single touchdown in the third quarter, giving the team the edge it needed to defeat the defending champions, the Orange County Otters. However, in the next round against the Austin Copperheads, Toriki once again was unable to make a meaningful contribution to the team. The Second Line lost, sending Austin on the Ulimus Championship where they defeated the Yellowknife Wraiths.
Season Twenty also saw great turmoil in Toriki's personal life, as. Elizabeth Burris, her birth mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This news saw Toriki pull away from the spotlight in order to prioritize her family. She chose to extend her contract with New Orleans, after seeing the team rally around her in time of crisis. She committed to New Orleans through season 23, but demanded a no-trade clause, eager to cling to stability in one area of her life, remaining hopeful that the next leg of her contract proves slightly more successful.
Season 21 did in fact bring new vigor to Toriki. Hitting her stride with the team, she was able to be a more effective member of the offense. Boasting a 4.7 yard per carry during the regular season, Toriki contributed 1302 all-purpose yards and a combined 11 touchdowns. More notably, however, is the post-season, as New Orleans went to war for the Ultimus. Marcella contributed to their first playoff win against the Austin Copperheads, scoring a touchdown in the third quarter. Going into the second round of playoffs against the Orange County otters, Toriki felt high pressure to perform. She once again came through with a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the team ahead. Unfortunately, OCO running back Ludicolo Bigby scored shortly after, tying the game and pushing the conference championship game to overtime. Thankfully, beloved kicker Herbert Prohaska came through, kicking the game-winning field goal that sent the Second Line on the Ultimus.
The city of New Orleans was proud to be the host for Ultimus XXI, with music and dancing across the city in the week leading up to the game. Toriki's entire family was in attendance. In the face-off against NSFC opponent, the Yellowknife Wraiths, Toriki once again contributed late game to further the lead, scoring the last NOLA touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter, pushing the score to 33-6. One last score from Yellowknife brought the final score to 33-13. New Orleans took the victory. Marcella Toriki won her first ultimus as a valued member of the Second Line. While fellow running back Forrest Gump was the MVP of the game, Toriki boasted an impressive stat line of her own, turning 25 attempts into 123 yards and a touchdown.
High off of the win, Toriki was rocked with news of management changes in New Orleans as beloved General Manager A’Notter O'Sullivan entered retirement. While manager Jimmy Dugan still leads the front office, Toriki expressed nervousness at this change in leadership. "I came to New Orleans in part because I loved the management. While I'm sure that O'Sullivan's replacement will be wonderful, it will certainly be a change that takes quite a lot getting used to. I get quite attached to people, and O'Sullivan is family to me."
When asked if this would impact her decision to extend with the Second Line past s23, she declined to comment.
S22 passed without too much fanfare, but S23 was particularly interesting as many were watching to see if there would be another Toriki departure to shake up the league's Free Agency. New Orleans had a fairly up and down start to the season, alternating wins and losses. They managed to right the ship, finishing the season 8-5. This season saw a transition in the Second Line's backfield as Toriki took up the RB1 spot with Gump taking the second running back slot and taking on a more flex role in the offense. This resulting in a second 1000+ yard season, the first one since her very first season with New Orleans.
Partway through the season, she did put in an extension with New Orleans, though not without major stipulations. She locked herself into a contract that provides $5 million for 9 seasons, with $20 million in the tenth season. She also maintains her status as the team's kick holder for the duration of her contract and is no longer to attend preseason with the team. Her contract not only caters to her own interest but also managed to help others. Her contract stipulates that her longtime friend on the team will remain for the duration of her contract, meaning Sunshine Ofyourlove will continue to serve as the team's starting center. The contract also requires the team to participate in an annual charity rugby game as well as requiring each member of the New Orleans Second Line to volunteer at least one day per season with Toriki's charity organization Girl Strong. The contract also calls back to her DSFL roots, adding a clause that allows her to participate in training camp in Norfolk, Virginia, home of her beloved Seawolves. This contract definitively answered the question of what Toriki's future would hold. The contract serves as a sign of her commitment going into her peak career years.
Toriki reports S24 as her most frustrating ISFL season to date. For the first time since her football debut, no one from her family was able to make a game. Her family, which has always been cited as a good luck charm, were largely occupied with a family crisis occurring in New Zealand. Her brothers were able to return to the island, but Toriki was forced to remain and play on. While still surrounded by the strong NOLA team she knew and loved, the ASFC proved to be immensely competitive. On a personal level, the running back found herself once again unable to make it into the endzone when it mattered. Over her 16 games played, she managed to score only 3 times rushing and one receiving. Despite this shortcoming, Toriki did manage to garner attention for an amazingly efficient season. She was the most efficient running back to take more than 10 snaps. She also exceeded 1000 yards rushing that season. Still, the frustration of not being able to capitalize on her season as the top running back in New Orleans weighed on her. She disappeared completely during the off-season, and no once close to Toriki was able to say where she was during this time. Some speculate that she went on a silent meditation retreat in Spain. Others have said that Toriki had returned to New Zealand to spend the break with her extended family. A small group of people maitains that Toriki was gone taping a season of the Bachelorette as the main star, but no documentation of this event has been found. There is one Rhode Island resident that claims to have the pilot tape for this season, but no one has been permitted to verify that tape.
Awards and Recognitions
S18 - Offensive Rookie of the Year
S23 - ASFC Pro Bowl Team - Running Back
Professional career statistics
|Career statistics||Rushing||Receiving||Offensive Line|