Brad Bournival

Columbus: As Patches O’Houlihan said in the movie Dodgeball, “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball,” — and apparently get a scholarship to play for the Ohio State football team.

Those who follow recruiting know the story of how Urban Meyer flipped defensive end Sam Hubbard out of Cincinnati Moeller from Notre Dame lacrosse to Buckeyes football, but there’s another side to the story.

Meyer always looks for athletes when he recruits, but Hubbard, who played safety for the 2013 state champion Crusaders, was on another level.

“I was with [football coach] John Rodenberg at Moeller in the gymnasium with Kerry Coombs, and we started just talking about their players,” Meyer said. “[He said], ‘You see I got this kid going to Notre Dame to play lacrosse.’ ‘Where is he?’ ‘Right over there.’ Ooh, I was watching him, pretty good dodgeball player. I said, let’s get him to camp.

“I got to know him and his family, and it was a no-brainer. We didn’t know what he was going to play. It was either tight end or defensive end.”

The news surprised Hubbard, who still longs to play lacrosse, in which he was a standout midfielder.

Hubbard, a 6-foot-6, 266-pound redshirt sophomore, knew at the time he was being eyeballed by Meyer, a three-time national champion. But he never thought for a second it would lead to a place on Ohio State’s squad.

“Not at all,” he said. “I never even thought I was going to play football. It’s funny how things work out. I’m glad to be at the place I’m at. He was just visiting the school to see a bunch of players. I didn’t think I’d get much interest because I was off the radar and off the map.

“It’s pretty cool how he saw me doing that. He’s sitting in my gym class. I know he’s looking at me.”

The call came to bring Hubbard to camp and on March 21, 2013, the then-junior became the sixth commit in a headlining class.

Since then, Hubbard has become one of the stars on a defense that heads into a game at Michigan State ranked fourth in the nation and one that ranks fifth against the pass and 13th against the rush.

A USA Today All-Freshmen selection, Hubbard had 28 tackles — eight for loss — and 6˝ sacks with two fumble recoveries.

Fast forward to this season, and he’s been the meat and potatoes of a defensive line that ranks second in rush defense behind Wisconsin and one that is runner-up to Michigan in total defense in the Big Ten.

Along with end Tyquan Lewis and linebacker Raekwon McMillan, Hubbard was one of three starters back when Ohio State doesn’t have the ball.

This season, Hubbard has 32 tackles — six for loss — 2˝ sacks, three quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Lewis said. “I’ve seen him get off of cut blocks, spin around and make plays. It’s a benefit. Having two defensive ends, three defensive ends, we all bring different games to the table, but having him shapes a whole other animal on that side of the defense.”