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Maurice Clarett Back at Ohio State After 3 Years in Prison

Maurice Clarett Back at Ohio State After 3 Years in Prison
Booking Photo of Maurice Clarett, Aug. 9, 2006 (AP/Franklin Co. Corrections)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CBS/AP) Ohio State University says former football star Maurice Clarett is back in school to pursue his degree after spending more than three years in prison.

Ohio State spokesman Jim Lynch says in a statement that Clarett started classes on Monday after he was readmitted by the College of Education and Human Ecology, where he was originally enrolled.

Clarett pleaded guilty in 2006 to aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon, and served 3 1/2 years in a Toledo prison, where he took college-credit courses.

The ex-football star says in a statement that it is a "surreal feeling to be back at Ohio State" and that he doesn't want to be a "distraction or nuisance" to the team or other students.

As a freshman, Clarett scored the winning touchdown in the second overtime of the Fiesta Bowl against Miami to lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, the school's first since 1968.

But Clarett was suspended for the 2003 season because he was charged with falsifying a police report.

He dropped out of school, then sued unsuccessfully to be included in the 2004 NFL draft. He was a surprise third-round pick in the 2005 draft but was cut by the Denver Broncos during the preseason.

On Aug. 9, 2006, police noticed Clarett's SUV driving erratically. A highway chase ensued, ending when police spiked Clarett's tires, sending his vehicle limping into a restaurant parking lot.

Officers said they could not easily subdue Clarett because the bulletproof vest he was wearing thwarted their stun guns. It took several police using pepper spray to get the 6-foot, 245-pounder into handcuffs.