99 Warriors: No. 13, All-Conference Selection and National Champion Maurice Clarett

By Derrick Webb on August 19, 2018 at 8:05 am
Maurice Clarett set multiple freshman records in 2002 while rushing for 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns.

We're counting down the days to kickoff with “99 Warriors,” the greatest Ohio State Buckeyes by jersey number, as voted by the staff of Eleven Warriors.

No. 13 Maurice Clarett

In the midst of a two-overtime instant classic, a heralded freshman running back cemented his place in history.

On January 3, 2003, in the BCS National Championship game against Miami (Fla.), Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett grabbed the attention of a national audience.

Early in the fourth quarter of the most meaningful game he's ever been a part of, Clarett made a play Buckeye fans still talk about to this day — and oddly enough, it came on the defensive side of the ball.

With a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter, Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel was picked off in the end zone by Hurricanes safety Sean Taylor. With room to run, Taylor raced near his own 30-yard line before Clarett caught up to him before forcing and recovering a fumble.

RB Maurice Clarett

b. Oct. 29, 1983 (Youngstown, Ohio)

  • All-Big Ten (2002)
  • Big Ten Champion (2002)
  • National Champion (2002)

It was a play that stopped a potential surge of Miami momentum, a play that Ohio State fans, and members of that 2002 team, still vividly remember, and a play that most football players simply don't make.

Later in the game, in the second overtime, Clarett rocketed into the end zone from five yards out to give the Buckeyes a 31-24 lead — the eventual final score, cementing the program's seventh national title into stone.

That short touchdown burst was the topper to a season where Clarett rushed for a then-freshman record of 1,237 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection before his college football career came to an abrupt halt due to legal troubles.

He was drafted in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, but failed to ever play a down. 

Clarett now runs "The Red Zone," an organization that provides housing and counseling services for adults that are battling addiction. Clarett has two Red Zone agencies, based in Columbus and Youngstown, that help over 1,500 clients.

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