Ohio State Football: Looking Back at Maurice Clarett a Decade After Leaving OSU

Tim Bielik@bielik_timSenior Analyst IJuly 5, 2013

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 3:  Running back Maurice Clarett #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is interviewed by Lynn Swann after deafeating the Miami Hurricanes in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 3, 2003 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  Ohio State won the game 31-24 in double-overtime, winning the NCAA National Championship. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The last time Ohio State won the national championship in the 2002 season, then-freshman running back Maurice Clarett had taken the college football world by storm.

However, no one knew that his game-winning touchdown in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl would be the last time Clarett touched the football on a major stage.

A long road that involved a three-year stay in prison had changed Clarett from the football player we all admired for several electrifying months into a man still trying to make a positive impact on the world.

One thing is for sure—he has come a very long way.

Clarett is a changed man who has matured, though the life he is living now is a farcry from what he thought he would have been doing after his freshman season.

In his only season, Clarett had 222 carries for 1,237 yards and 18 touchdowns and helped lead the Buckeyes to their first national title since 1970.

The next summer, Clarett became embroiled in numerous scandals, including receiving improper benefits, which forced him off the team and eventually led to his dismissal from the school.

Felony offenses put him behind bars for over three years, where he got the opportunity to think about what had led him down the road he was on.

After his release from prison, Clarett had a stint with the Omaha Nighthawks in the UFL and is now pursuing a shot at the Olympics in rugby.

So, ten years later, Clarett's actions and the effects they have had on both him and the Buckeye football program are still profound.

Clarett, like a handful of young kids who leave high school and go on to play college football, ended up on the wrong side of the tracks given the freedom of college life.

The biggest difference between him and most of those other players is that we all saw what Clarett was, which made his downfall much more tragic.

He came into the college game and made it look almost easy, putting up mind-boggling performances for a true freshman and being the main offensive weapon for a national champion.

If he had stayed clean, the future seemed as bright as anyone's at that time.

But Clarett's road diverted off track, and he's continuing to try to make amends.

He recently published a book entitled "My Life, My Story, My Redemption," and it will be featured in an ESPN Films 30 for 30 special.

Much like Marcus Dupree, Clarett's life is in a way both a tragedy and a triumph.

It's a tragedy because it's the classic case of an athlete at the top of the world who loses it all and never gets it back. But it's a triumph as well because he is using his life experience to better himself and hopefully make a difference in someone's life.

Clarett shares his motivational message everyday through his Twitter account, where he posts different slogans along with his impressive workout regimens.

It's been a decade since Maurice Clarett last carried the football for the Ohio State Buckeyes and was one of the stars of a national championship football team.

He's been through a large amount of troubles in his life which he is finally starting to climb out of.

Clarett will never be who he was a decade ago, and that is perfectly fine.


Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.


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