Maurice Clarett to headline Lions Tailgate Party

By Ryan Carter -

Maurice Clarett

Maurice Clarett

Maurice Clarett, the star freshman running back on the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes national championship football team, will be the headline speaker at the 12th-annual Lions Club “Beat Michigan” tailgate party on Friday, Nov. 24.

The public is invited to hear Clarett speak about how he turned his life around to become a successful motivational speaker, consultant and entrepreneur. The party will begin at 6 p.m. at the Mahan Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds. Dinner tickets are $20 each and can be purchased from any Washington or Jeffersonville Lions Club member, or by calling 740-335-4588.

Clarett first became known for his football accolades early on in his life, according to the biography on Clarett’s website. In high school he was a name known throughout the nation, as he won the USA Today national player of the year award and was named a Parade All-American.

His success continued at Ohio State University. Clarett became the first and only true freshman to start at running back and set the freshman single season rushing and touchdown record, which was previously set by two-time Heisman Trophy winner, Archie Griffin. The peak of this successful season came when Clarett scored the winning touchdown in a double overtime victory over the Miami Hurricanes, making the Buckeyes the national champions in 2002.

After that season, Clarett fell into a spiral of poor decisions that cost him continued success in football, according to his website. Those decisions ultimately landed him in prison for three-and-a-half years. That time in prison made Clarett determined to have more success than he did before – not in football, but in life.

Since his release in 2010, Clarett has been committed to restoring his life and reputation as a man who lives and acts with integrity, according to his website, and is guided by the morals and values dictated by his strong Christian faith. Most recently, Clarett completed a documentary film series with ESPN entitled, “Youngstown Boys,” about his life. He also recently published and made available for sale his journal that chronicled his struggles while away from his family.

Clarett now travels to schools, universities, churches and business organizations to share his story. His message is that it’s never too late to change the direction of your life.

Along with Clarett’s speech, great tailgate food will be provided by Willow Catering, and many Buckeye and holiday gift items will be available for purchase in both silent and live auctions. A raffle will also be held with a 55-inch HD television and $500 cash as the top prizes.

Raffle tickets are $5 each or five tickets for $20. Proceeds will go to area food pantries and Lions sightsaving programs.

Maurice Clarett Clarett

By Ryan Carter

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica

Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica