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Nate Ebner, former Ohio State football and rugby player, joins USA rugby national team

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Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Nate Ebner (34) against Toledo in their NCAA College football game played on Sept. 10, 2011 in Ohio Stadium.  Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Nate Ebner (34) against Toledo in their NCAA College football game played on Sept. 10, 2011 in Ohio Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Most Ohio State football fans remember Nate Ebner as a hard-nosed special teams player who overcame the odds to earn his way onto the team after trying out. Although Ebner had little to no experience, he did have many years in another sport that helped pave the way for his success: rugby.

After being drafted in 2012 by the New England Patriots and earning a Super Bowl ring with the team, Ebner is returning to the sport that lead him into football in the first place as a member of USA Rugby Men’s Seven Olympic team.

Ebner went through a four month period of intense training to try and earn his way onto the team. On Saturday, the 27-year-old found out he would be competing in Rio de Janeiro on the rugby pitch in less than a month.

“It has been a crazy day,” Ebner said to Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch. “It has been a good day. It’s humbling, man. It’s an awesome experience.”

Ebner was a member of the OSU football team from 2009 to 2011. Known for being a special team standout, he recorded 30 tackles throughout his career with the Buckeyes, while also recording a sack.
The USA men’s rugby team competes from Aug. 9 to 11 in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics.

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