The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame welcomed a new, 11-member class, which included two Super Bowl champions and four total football players, during two separate ceremonies Friday evening at the Ohio Union.
Headlining the list of inductees was Bobby Watkins, the first black football recruit in OSU history and a running back from 1952 to 1954.
Watkins, who split time during interviews by sharing stories of his time as a Buckeye playing under late, former coach Woody Hayes and reciting Robert Burns poetry, was visibly emotional as he discussed his days at OSU.
“I thought I was a very, very fortunate young man to be able to play at Ohio State,” Watkins said. “(Ohio State) said ‘We’d like to have you,’ and of course, I was elated. And the rest was history.”
The football contingent of hall of fame inductees was rounded out by offensive lineman Orlando Pace and safety Mike Doss who donned the Scarlet and Gray from 1994 to 1996 and 1999 to 2002, respectively.
“I was sitting at home and they called me out of the blue,” said Pace, a member of the 199 Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. “I was excited. I really enjoyed those three years (at OSU) and being a part of this great university.”
Doss, a member of both the 2002 consensus national champion Buckeyes and Super Bowl XLI champion Indianapolis Colts teams, agreed.
“It’s truly a blessing,” he said. “I feel humbled. I feel elated. I’m enjoying this and it is something that I will always cherish.”
The late Leo Raskowski was also honored on Friday. Raskowski played tackle for the Buckeyes from 1926 to 1928 and passed away in 1952 after losing his battle with a lung illness.
Other male inductees included gymnast Raj Bhavsar and wrestler Mitch Clark, who attended OSU from 2000 to 2003 and 1994 to 1998, respectively.
The female induction ceremony saw golfer Kristen White, rower Didi Albrecht, softball’s Stacy Roth, track and field hammer-thrower Katy Craig and pistol team member Jessica Marshall honored as well.
White led OSU women’s golf from 2002 to 2005 and was a two-time Big Ten player of the year.
Albrecht helped the Buckeyes to a fourth-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships while rowing for the university from 2002 to 2005. Albrecht is currently an assistant coach for OSU’s rowing team.
Roth played softball for the Buckeyes from 1999 to 2002 and was a two-time MVP for OSU.
Craig was a three-time All-American and a four-time Big Ten champion during her stay in Columbus from 1999 to 2002.
Marshall was a 12-time All-American for OSU’s pistol team and helped the team to the 2004 women’s national championship.
The 2011 hall of fame class will be introduced at halftime of OSU football’s game against Toledo on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.