Maurice Edward Clarett is a former American football running back who played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. During his freshman year at Ohio State University in 2002, he helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship. In a widely unexpected move, Clarett was drafted on the first day of the 2005 NFL Draft with the final pick of the 3rd round (#101 overall) by the Denver Broncos. He is well known for unsuccessfully challenging the NFL's draft eligibility rules requiring a player to be three years removed from high school and for his tumultuous life outside of football, including his dismissal from Ohio State, several arrests, and later, imprisonment.
While in prison, Clarett blogged about his life there on The Mind of Maurice Clarett. Because he did not have Internet access in the prison, he sent his entries to his girlfriend, who posted them for him.
In one post, Clarett summed up his attitude towards prison by saying "Understand my struggle so you can respect my hustle. I am never coming back here, believe that. Never, I am cool on this. It is first-class living from the day I get out. I WILL NEVER SETTLE FOR LESS, EVER AGAIN. That goes for communication, personal relationships, housing, education, friendships, and travel arrangements. Everything. I have the fire in my eyes"
In November 2012, Clarett was invited back to Ohio State to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the undefeated championship season of 2002. Having suffered from depression, Clarett joined other mental health advocates in August 2013 to promote expansion of Medicaid in Ohio. He has spoken at prisons, juvenile detention facilities and worked with youth football camps to share his story so others do not repeat it. Clarett has also reconnected with Ohio State by taking courses and working out with current football players.
In December 2013, he was featured in Youngstown Boys, an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary which included extensive interviews with family, friends and associates.
In February 2014, he was invited back to Ohio State University as part of a ceremony recognizing the National Championship team he played on. While there, he also spoke to an audience of more than 500 at the Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom in the Ohio Union. He discussed past troubles and his ongoing rehabilitation and the restoration of his reputation.