- Mike Rodak, ESPN Staff Writer
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have selected Ohio State defensive back Nate Ebner, a former rugby player, with the 197th overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Ebner did not play football in high school, and walked on to the Buckeyes' football team in 2009. An article by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer earlier this week called Ebner the best special teams player on Ohio State in 2011.
"I'm going to be hitting people with my body as long as it can take it," Ebner told the Plain-Dealer. "I'm definitely playing rugby somewhere if I'm not playing football."
Ebner impressed scouts at his Pro Day, running a 4.48 40-yard dash and also notching an impressive three-cone drill time. In 12 games played last season, Ebner saw action in just three defensive snaps, recording one sack. He had 11 tackles overall on the season.
"He's a sick athlete, and he's one of the toughest players I've played with,” Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat told BuckeyeExtra.com.
In 2008, Ebner's father was killed in a robbery attempt at his auto-salvage business. This video details Ebner's rugby career and how he used his father's death as inspiration.
Playing on the under-19 and under-20 U.S. national rugby teams, he was MVP of those teams in the 2007 and 2008 world rugby tournaments, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The Dublin, Ohio native is listed at 6-feet, 205 pounds. He played at Hilliard Davidson High School.