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June 30, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Three-time major award winner and two-time All-American Orlando Pace, and three-time All-American Michael Doss headline a contingent of four Buckeye football players who will be enshrined into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame the weekend of Sept. 9-10. Two-time All-American Leo Raskowski and Bobby Watkins, scoring leader on Woody Hayes’ 1954 national championship team, also are part of the Hall’s 2011 class, which will grow by 11 with the addition of six men and five women.

The class, which also includes Didi Albrecht (rowing), Raj Bhavsar (men’s gymnastics), Mitch Clark (wrestling), Katy Craig (women’s track and field), Jessica Marshall (pistol), Stacey Roth (softball), and Kristen White (women’s golf), will be officially inducted Sept. 9 during ceremonial dinners and introduced to the public at halftime of the Ohio State home football game against Toledo Sept. 10.

Pace: Perhaps the Best Ever
Orlando Pace started every game for the Buckeyes between 1994-1996 campaigns and became one of the most dominant offensive linemen ever to play the game. In 1995, he made college football history by becoming the first sophomore to win the Lombardi Award. As a junior, he became the first two-time winner of the Lombardi Award and added the Outland Trophy that year to his impressive list of awards that also included being named the Football News Offensive Player of the Year and winning the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the Most Valuable Player in the Big Ten.

Pace finished fourth in 1996 in the Heisman Trophy balloting – the highest finish by a lineman since a second-place finish by Ohio State’s John Hicks in 1973. He was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award and he repeated as Big Ten’s offensive lineman of the year.

Pace did not allow a sack in either of his last two years and he became known for his famous “Pancake Block” his junior year, finishing the season with 80 of those (knocking his defender to the ground and on his back).

The native of Sandusky, Ohio, was selected by his teammates as Ohio State’s MVP in 1996 after leading the squad to a co-Big Ten championship and a 20-17 victory over Arizona State in the 1997 Rose Bowl.

After his three years at Ohio State, Pace entered the 1997 NFL Draft and was selected first overall by the St. Louis Rams – becoming the third Buckeye in program history to be taken No. 1 overall. The five-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection played in 13 seasons in the NFL, including 12 with the Rams. His career was highlighted by a Super Bowl ring in 1999 after the Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV.

The Captain Who Came Back
Michael Doss, who played for Ohio State between 1999 and 2002, was co-captain of the 2002 National Championship team. He was chosen as Defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl when Ohio State captured its first consensus national championship since 1968 with a thrilling 31-24 double-overtime victory over Miami. A three-year starter from Canton, Ohio, Doss became just the seventh three-time All-American in Ohio State history. He played in 50 games and started 40 and amassed 331 total tackles. Three times he was named all-Big Ten and in 2002 as a senior he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Doss, who came back for his senior season at Ohio State after an opportunity to turn pro as a junior, earned his degree in communication and went on to play six seasons in the NFL for three teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals. Doss was a part of the 2006 Indianapolis Colts team that won Super Bowl XLI.

Doss, and his wife Jasmine, who also graduated from Ohio State, are raising his 8-year-old brother, Anthony Kick Jr. Doss created the Michael A. Doss Foundation and was honored with the Canton Jaycees Distinguished Service Award in 2010.

A Pioneering All-American & Captain
Leo Raskowski, a two-time All-American and two-time All-Big Ten selection, was team captain of the 1928 Buckeyes that went 5-2-1 overall, including a 19-7 win over Michigan at Ohio Stadium. Overall, Raskowski, a tackle for the Buckeyes, helped lead the Scarlet and Gray to 16 victories in three seasons, highlighted by a 7-1 mark in 1926.

Raskowski, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, was the first team captain to be elected at the close of the season after a rule passed by the athletic board at the beginning of the 1928-29 academic year.

Following his time at Ohio State, Raskowski went on to play three seasons in the NFL on four teams, including the Staten Island Stapletons, Brooklyn Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Eagles. Following his NFL career, Raskowski moved to Vancouver as a recreation director in 1943. He passed away in 1952 at the young age of 46 after battling a long illness.

One of Woody’s First Recruits
Bobby Watkins, a native of New Bedford, Mass., led the Scarlet and Gray in scoring in both the 1953 and 1954 campaigns and he played a major role in helping Ohio State claim the 1954 national championship – the second national crown in program history. During the 1954 season, the Buckeyes went a perfect 10-0, highlighted by a 20-7 victory over Southern California in a rainy, mud-soaked 1955 Rose Bowl game. Watkins rushed for 67 yards on 16 carries, while posting three receptions for 43 yards with a touchdown vs. the Trojans. With the help of Watkins, the Scarlet and Gray was voted No.1 in the final Associated Press poll in 1954 after outscoring their opponents, 289-75.

One of Woody Hayes’ first recruits and one of the first African-Americans to play football for Ohio State, Watkins, an all-state performer in high school, rushed for 1,724 yards between 1952-54. In 1953, the Buckeye back led the team with 875 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He rushed for over 500 yards and scored eight touchdowns in 1954. Following his three seasons, Watkins was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bears in 1955, playing in four seasons before a knee injury ended his career.

Watkins graduated from Ohio State with a degree in business administration. He went on to become a vice president of marketing and sales for John E. Seagram and Sons. In 2000, Watkins moved backed to his hometown area after he retired. Since then, the former Buckeye has been involved with UMass Dartmouth through various volunteer opportunities, including chair of the UMass Dartmouth Blue Ribbon Commission on Athletics and recently as a member of the Board of Directors for the UMass Dartmouth Foundation. In 2007, he established the Bobby and Rillis Watkins Scholarship Fund, which helps support students who participated in high school football receive an education at UMass Dartmouth.