HUNTINGTON — For a few moments Saturday, Jamie Wilson was 22 and it was 1996 again.
"A little bit," Wilson said when asked if he was emotional when he was introduced to the Joan C. Edwards Stadium crowd as part of Marshall University Athletics' 10-member Hall of Fame Class of 2019. "Just being on this field again and all the memories come rushing back of that 1996 championship, hearing the crowd roar like they did back then, it's emotional."
Wilson was a standout offensive tackle with the Thundering Herd and a senior on the undefeated 1996 NCAA Division I-AA national championship team. He went on to play in the National Football League for the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts. Wilson now sells medical equipment in Charlotte, North Carolina, where fellow inductee and former teammate Giradie Mercer also lives.
Also inducted Saturday were:
n John Brannen, men's basketball (1995-97). Brannen, an all-Southern Conference pick in 1997, is the men's head basketball coach at the University of Cincinnati. On Saturday, however, he was all about the Thundering Herd, wearing a green Marshall shirt on the field before MU's football game with Ohio.
n Nichole Corrigan, softball (1999-2002) A three-time all-Mid-American Conference player, Corrigan helped the Herd to the MAC East title in 2000 and held the team record for at bats.
n Rachel Folden, softball (2005-08). A four-time All-American, Folden still holds 15 school records. She operates Folden Fastpitch in Northwest Indiana.
n Tom Kuempel, baseball (1995-98). Kuempel won the MAC triple crown and was the league's player of the year as a senior when he hit 20 home runs, drove in 65 and batted .435. He played professionally in the Frontier League.
n Milla Kuurto, women's swimming and diving (2002-06). A four-time all-conference selection - three times in the MAC and once in Conference USA - Kuurto set 14 schools records, was the MAC swimmer of the year and the Dot Hicks Award winner as Marshall's top female student-athlete.
n Giradie Mercer, football (1996-99). A captain on the 1999 undefeated Motor City Bowl championship team, the defensive tackle was a two-time all-MAC selection. He also was a member of the 1996 national championship team and played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets.
n Hugh Reynolds, baseball (1958-60). A first-team all-MAC pick as a senior, Reynolds struck out 162 batters that season.
n Mark Sheridan, men's swimming and diving (1977-81). Sheridan helped the Herd win four Southern Conference titles and won the 1,650 freestyle and 500 freestyle as a senior.
n Max Yates, football (1998-2001). A member of the 1999 Marshall team that finished ranked 10th in the nation, Yates led the Herd in tackles as a junior and a senior. A three-time all-MAC selection, Yates went on to play for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings.
The group was honored with a dinner in the Don Morris Room of the memorial Student Center on Friday.
ROUNDING UP: Three freshmen wide receivers - Corey Gammage, Talik Keaton and Broc Thompson - started for Marshall against Ohio. Gammage and Keaton are redshirt freshmen, while Thompson is a true freshman.
Ohio starting left tackle Austen Pleasants is a former Coal Grove High School star. Marshall recruited Pleasant, but didn't offer him a scholarship until just before signing day and he was already committed to the Bobcats.
One of the quirkier plays of the game, and likely of the season, came at 9:51 of the first quarter. Marshall punter Robert LeFevre was called for a personal foul on a late hit on the Ohio sideline. Punters and kickers rarely are called for personal fouls. This one, though, sent Ohio coach Frank Solich, 75, tumbling to the turf. Solich jumped up quickly and resumed his duties.
Another unusual play took place at 5:40 of the first period when Marshall ran the "Statue of Liberty" play in which tight end Xavier Gaines took the ball from quarterback Isaiah Green, who appeared as if he were passing, and gained 20 yards to set up a field goal that gave the Herd a 10-3 lead.
Marshall junior defensive back Jestin Morrow celebrated his birthday Saturday with a tackle on a kickoff.