Jody Victor: Ohio State junior defensive back Nate Ebner will have his mind set on winning a different kind of championship this weekend when he takes the field for the Ohio State rugby team at the USA Sevens Rugby Collegiate Championship Invitational at Crew Stadium.
A standout on the United States U19 and U20 rugby national teams and MVP of the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and 2008, Ebner did not play football while at Hilliard Davidson High School. After joining the Buckeye football team as a walk-on in 2009, Ebner recorded seven tackles and appeared in 12 games for the Rose Bowl and Big Ten champions.
During the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl run last season, the Dublin, Ohio native brought his “Finish Strong” motto, which he carried on from his father, Jeff, who tragically passed away last year, to the rest of his teammates who used the mantra as inspiration as they closed out the season with six consecutive wins, including a 26-17 triumph over Oregon in Pasadena. Not only did Nate learn the inspirational message from his father, but he was exposed to the game of rugby by him at an early age.
The inaugural round-robin event begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday as San Diego State takes on Florida. The Buckeyes face Utah in their first match at 7:50 p.m. Friday before playing in-state foe Bowling Green and Penn State Saturday. Indiana joins Ohio State and Penn State as Big Ten Conference schools with a team in the tournament. For this and more info go to osu.edu.