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Rickards High alum, Utah congressman Owens, Jr. inducted to Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame

He broke racial barriers during athletic career
Senate Judiciary
1980 NFL Playoffs
Posted at 5:11 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 17:33:35-04

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WTXL) — A former Rickards High School student-athlete will be inducted into an athletic hall of fame.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) announced Tuesday that Clarence “Burgess” Owens, Jr., a former two-sport athlete at Rickards High School in Tallahassee, will be inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Owens, Jr. is one of seven individuals to be inducted into the hall of fame in the class of 2022.

According to the FHSAA, Owens, Jr. was a two-sport while at Rickards High School.

Owens, Jr. broke many barriers for African American athletes in the state.

According to the FHSAA, Owens Jr. was among the first four African American players to integrate a historically white high school football team.

He was named first team All-Big Bend in football and basketball and won a regional championship in football.

Owens Jr. became the third black student to be awarded a football scholarship at the University of Miami, where he was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame.

Owens, Jr. was drafted No. 13 overall in the first round of the 1973 National Football League draft by the New York Jets as a defensive back.

According to ProFootballReference.com, Owens, Jr. played 10 seasons in the NFL, with the last three years of his career with the Raiders.

Owens, Jr. Was a member of the 1980 Oakland Raiders that won Super Bowl XV in January 1981.

His life after football has been just as impactful as Owens, Jr. has been a member of the United States House of Representatives as a Republican congressman from the state of Utah since 2021.

He currently represents Utah's fourth congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The FHSAA notes Owens Jr. founded “Second Chance 4 Youth,” a non-profit dedicated to mentoring, teaching, and preparing youth.

Joining Owens in the class of 2022 are Rusty Batcher (official), Charles “Kelly” Beckham (basketball coach), Alex Bennett (water polo, swimming and diving coach), Katherine Biddle (school administrator), Don Latimer (student-athlete) and Joseph Underwood (official).

“We are honored to commemorate these seven remarkable individuals and their careers, which have incredibly advanced high school sports in our state,” FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn said in a statement. “We are pleased to introduce them as the FHSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2022.”