Former football star encourages local kids to take the right pat - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Former football star encourages local kids to take the right path

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STRUTHERS, Ohio - A popular running back who led Ohio State to a national championship in 2002, then landed himself in prison, is on another road to victory.

Maurice Clarett and Coach Jim Tressel have teamed up again for the Come Back Project at the Struthers Field House,.

As they take center court with other NFL Stars, pastors and business and community leaders, they hope to hook kids on education so they become well rounded individuals.

"Being that I came from the area, I'm aware of the problems kids have with educational access and I want to bring awareness to the possibilities to become successful in life," says Clarett.

Coach Tressel tells 21 News that Clarett asked him a year ago to take part in The Comeback Project and his response was an immediate yes.

"Life is a long haul, and you need to work hard on being educated. You need to work hard on understanding the fundamental core values you have, and like Maurice is doing, he wants to make sure the next part of life is a good one," says Tressel. 

Everyone involved has teamed up to help lay a foundation for a comeback in schools, communities and families.

Victory Christian Center's "The Riot," a youth center where teens and young adults find a safe place to build friendships, family and encounter God, partnered in this charity basketball event.

The event will raise money for more opportunities to help teens and kids face challenges.

"Me and Maurice, we've gone to different high schools and reached out to kids. Over at The Riot we see tons of kids come through and we see kids with different challenges in life," says Nate Oritz, Pastor of The Riot at Victory Christian Center. "So it's so important and there is the element of Jesus that we like to present to the kids, and a life of following Him. It just brings so much encouragement to them."

ESPN is chronicling Clarette's life.

The football star knew victory on the field, leading OSU to the national championship in 2002.

However, he felt defeat in prison after taking a path of drugs and guns.

He is now sharing his story in the hopes that others will avoid his mistakes and live a life of victory.


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