The theme of redemption was at the heart of a speech delivered by former Ohio State football great Maurice Clarett, the keynote speaker at the Ohio Supreme Court's Black History Month event.
The famed football star, who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to a 2002 national championship, told his compelling story to an audience of 230 people, including students from five Columbus-area high schools.
"You have no clue of the gifts that you have," said Clarett. "Often times we're fed by distractions that seem to be entertaining. It's not stuff that develops the gifts."
His story was a fall from grace, an athlete once touted for the NFL to a convicted felon.
"All the things that happened in my life," said Clarett. "The experiences I call them weren't failures, they were different points to learn and redirect my behavior."
He talked about channeling his energy towards a greater good.
"The same ambition I had to be great, that same ambition lives inside of me," said Clarett. "I realized I had to transfer that to a different platform. I couldn't play football anymore but I had the desire to want to be great, be notable, the desire to want to work hard at all that stuff that is literally inside of you."
He used that ambition to start the Red Zone, a non-profit-based in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, to help at-risk youth from going down the wrong path.
Students at the Court's event had a lot of questions for the newfound activist, and in return, he emphasized the importance of setting goals to achieve success.
Clarett told them to form a vision for their lives.