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Tyler was born ready,” he said. “Tyler is the hardest hitter on the team by far. He’s ready. Tyler’s going to go 1,000 mph and hit people. Everybody knows that.”

Even Moeller, dubbed “Rat” by an assistant coach who thought he scampered around creating havoc like a large rodent, has been surprised by how well things have gone so far.

He said the only lingering effect of the head injury is a loose flap of scalp that moves freely when he tugs on it, the result of the surgeries. Moeller laughs when an observer cringes as he moves the untethered skin around.

But he has no headaches, no pain, no memory loss.

“I feel great,” he said. “I feel like me again, officially.”

His teammates couldn’t be happier.

“He’s probably one of the most physical guys for his size,” linebacker Brian Rolle said of the 6-foot, 210-pounder.

Tressel believes that Moeller serves as a beacon for others.

“He loves the game,” Tressel said. “He loves to practice, he’s fast. He adds so much. A year ago when he was walking around not playing, that’s almost a little bit of a downer, if you know what I mean. Guys were looking and saying ‘Oh man.’ They knew how much he wanted to play. There wasn’t anything uplifting about that.

“Just his presence this year, in my mind, will be uplifting.”

On a typical August day of practice, Moeller certainly wasn’t standing around watching others hit as he had a year earlier. He was dealing some punishment to opposing ballcarriers who entered his zone. It was just like old times, the times before he took the hit that almost ended his career.

“I feel really good. And I feel really good about this team,” he said with a grin, pinching the sweat from the bridge of his nose with two fingers. “I feel good about camp so far _ although it’d be nice if it were a little colder.”