YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – When you hear the name Maurice Clarett, it may ring bells and for some opponents, nightmares on the football field. But now, he’s taken the lead in giving back to high schools in the Valley, saying it’s important to give back to the city that gave so much to him.
“I remember when I was in high school playing ball. A lot of kids used to love to come to practice just because they knew we had food at the end of it, you know what I’m saying?” Clarett asked.
Many faces light up when they hear his name and to many, he was known as “The Beast” on the field. He graduated from Warren Harding in 2002.
Now off the field, Clarett is using his platform to provide meals throughout the football season to both teams at East and Chaney High School.
“I think it’s what’s supposed to be done. This city has helped me out tremendously between opportunities and just support throughout the years, so this is what it should be,” Clarett said.
After speaking with Clarett, he expressed how he wouldn’t be the man he is today without others investing in him, stressing the importance of giving back what has been given to you.
“If I didn’t have the help that I had from other people, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t say that symbolically or just because it’s cliche, I literally wouldn’t be right here in this position. So I think one of the highest forms of respect you can have is reciprocity,” Clarett said.
Over at East High School, Coach Bryan Marrow said the teams were very grateful for what Clarett had done, describing him not only as a great athlete but also a great human being.
“God is using him in a mighty way. Not just feeding the kids but even when he’s in town, he’s spoke with the kids whenever I’ve asked him to come and holler at our boys,” Marrow said.
When the two schools reached out for help from the community, Marrow said there was no hesitation from Clarett, which then inspired others to get involved.
“It’s been a domino effect where you have other ‘Hometown Heroes’ coming back in town saying, ‘I want to do something as well,’ following in ‘Rice’s lead. That’s a major step in itself to me,” Marrow said.