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College Football Playoff Pits Hightower's Tide Against Ebner's Buckeyes

ebner hightower cfp.jpg
Patriots teammates Nate Ebner (left) and Dont'a Hightower find themselves on the opposite sides of Thursday's College Football Semifinal matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State. Barry Chin/Globe Staff


With the first ever College Football Playoff set to get underway on New Year’s Day, a couple of Patriots whose alma maters are squaring off are getting into the college football spirit.

One head-to-head matchup in the Pats locker room? Linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s Alabama Crimson Tide will face safety Nate Ebner’s Ohio State Buckeyes.

“I’m definitely going to catch that [game],” Hightower said during media availability on Tuesday. “I’ve got to catch that one.”

“Me and Nate have talked,” he added when asked if the two players had any kind of friendly wager on the game. “We haven’t set it yet, but I’m pretty sure he’ll come up with something good.”

No. 1 Alabama will take on No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl, serving this year as one of the two CFP semifinal sites along with the Rose Bowl Game, which features No. 2 Oregon against No. 3 Florida State.

Hightower starred as a linebacker at Alabama from 2008-11, where he recorded 231 total tackles with six sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble. He was a 2011 Consensus All-American and won two BCS National Championships while at Alabama before being taken by the Patriots with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.

Ebner played for Ohio State from 2009-11 after not playing football, but rugby in high school. In three seasons with the Buckeyes, Ebner made 31 total tackles with one sack. He was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2012 draft.

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