Maurice Edward Clarett is a former American football player. He gained national attention during his high school days when he won ‘Mr. Football Award’ (Ohio) in 2001. In the same year, he was also voted as ‘High School All-American’ by ‘USA Today.’ Maurice, however, got entangled in off-field issues, which included a juvenile detention term. While in his freshman year at the ‘Ohio State University,’ he helped the ‘Buckeyes’ to win national championship. He was drafted by the ‘Denver Broncos’ during the first day of the 2005 ‘NFL Draft.’ However, he was released even before the season began. He represented the ‘Omaha Nighthawks’ in the ‘United Football League.’ Legal issues, however, took a toll on his football career. He unsuccessfully challenged the draft eligibility rules of ‘NFL’ when he was deemed ineligible for the draft. He gained notoriety for his off-field issues which also included dismissal from Ohio State. It also led to several arrests and jail terms. Following his release, Maurice became an entrepreneur and public speaker.
Legal Issues, Consequences & Life Thereafter
The police declared on January 1, 2006, that they were looking for Maurice in connection with two armed robbery incidents that took place outside the ‘Opium Lounge’ dance club in Columbus. Maurice was accused of carrying a ‘.45 caliber’ handgun and robbing two people before fleeing the spot in a white SUV. On January 2, he turned himself in to the police and was charged with two counts of aggravated robbery.
On February 10, 2006, Maurice was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery. He denied all the allegations and pleaded not guilty to aggravated-robbery charges. He was subsequently released on $20,000 bail until the commencement of his trial.
While the aggravated robbery case was still pending, Maurice was once again caught on the wrong side of the law when he was arrested in Columbus on August 9, 2006. The arrest was made after he had taken an illegal U-turn in a sports utility vehicle which he claimed belonged to his uncle. The police had to chase him until he drove over a police spike strip. A loaded ‘AK-47’ variant among other weapons was found in his vehicle.
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On September 18, Maurice filed a guilty plea for all his charges. Judge David Fais sentenced him to seven and a half years in prison. The only solace was that Maurice was sentenced with the possibility to apply for an early release. However, he had to complete at least three and a half years of his term.
While serving his term at the ‘Toledo Correctional Institution,’ Maurice enrolled in a distance-learning program at ‘Ohio University’ to obtain a bachelor’s degree in ‘Geriatrics’ and ‘Gerontology.’
During his prison term, Maurice also wrote a blog about his life titled ‘The Mind of Maurice Clarett.’ The contents were uploaded by his girlfriend on his behalf. He also focussed on improving his mental health and read several business-related literature and psychology books.
He was granted an early release by Judge Fais on April 7, 2010. However, he was ordered to stay at ‘Maryhaven,’ an addiction treatment center in Columbus, for six months.
Maurice made efforts to turn his life around. He inspired many with his life story and emerged as a prominent motivational speaker. He spoke at many places, including juvenile detention facilities and prisons.
He received an invitation in November 2012 to attend the 10th year anniversary of Ohio State’s undefeated championship season of 2002. He was later given an opportunity to reconnect with Ohio State where he took courses and worked with current football players.
In August 2013, he joined other mental health promoters to promote the expansion of ‘Medicaid’ in Ohio. An ‘ESPN’ sports documentary titled ‘Youngstown Boys,’ which released in December 2013, featured Maurice.
He was invited by the ‘Ohio State University’ to be a part of the ceremony recognizing the ‘National Championship’ team. During the ceremony, he spoke at the ‘Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom,’ sharing his experience with more than 500 listeners.
Maurice Clarett founded a behavioral health agency named ‘The Red Zone’ in 2016. ‘The Red Zone’ has since expanded and currently has an office in Columbus. In 2018, Maurice launched a podcast titled ‘Business and Biceps.’ Maurice has a daughter named Jayden Clarett.