Maurice Clarett, the phenom freshman running back who helped Ohio State win the 2002 national championship, is seeking to guide college athletes to avoid his fate of being dismissed from Ohio State months later and eventually landing in prison in 2006. He hopes his new autobiography, “One and Done: How My Life Started When My Football Career Ended," raises money toward the establishment of a residential center where student athletes can get emotional and other support and work to create identities outside of sports.

“I’m 6-5 and black.”

That’s the extent to which the college basketball player could describe himself when asked to do so by Maurice Clarett.

“If that’s who you think you are, and the NBA is your ultimate end destination ... if that doesn’t happen, it crushes you," Clarett said, recalling the conversation to illustrate his point. He said of the young man: “He’s not understood that he could place the skill set someplace else to be somebody, and nobody had ever talked to him about building a life.”

Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter

It’s the type of answer that Clarett — who as a tailback for one season at Ohio State University helped the Buckeyes win college football's 2002 national championship — hopes to change with his new book, which is being sold to raise money toward the establishment of a residential center for student athletes.

“One of my main missions is to ... have a platform to discuss with these kids the amount of greatness that they do have in them,” Clarett said. “A lot of these kids think it’s hopeless after sports is done.”

>> Read more: Rob Oller | Maurice Clarett finds role as mature spokesman for worthy causes

The self-published, autobiographical “One and Done: How My Life Started When My Football Career Ended,” was written with Bob Eckhart, who taught English at Ohio State and was Clarett’s tutor and mentor in the Student Athlete Support Services Office.

Clarett, who now lives in central Ohio, plans an official launch on Nov. 19 at noon at LifeTown Columbus at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center in New Albany as part of a Herbert Weyl Jewish Business Network lunch event. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m.

Clarett said he wants to create a center in Columbus where college athletes can go for help with social, emotional, psychological or academic needs or to get back on the right track when anxiety and pressure lead to poor habits or behaviors. He envisions a place where coaches can send students temporarily throughout the year — for example, during spring break if going home might mean getting high.

The 36-year-old Clarett said the book chronicles his childhood in Youngstown, his football rise and fall, and his nearly four years in prison, where voracious reading and educational courses helped him reinvent himself.

The book details a high point: the national championship game, including Clarett's winning touchdown run in double overtime and a third-quarter play in which he stripped the ball from Miami Hurricane safety Sean Taylor, who had intercepted a pass and was running for a possible touchdown.

And the book details a low point: his arrest after a police chase in which the SUV he was driving was stocked with firearms and other weapons meant to kill people who would testify against him in a robbery case.

>> Read more: Maurice Clarett: Route to ‘village’ started in Toledo prison cell

Since his 2010 release from prison, Clarett has become a businessman who recently opened a vascular center in Columbus. He has told his story to student athletes and others around the country and started the Red Zone mental-health and addiction treatment services in Columbus and Youngstown. He takes countless text messages and phone calls, many of them from athletes who have heard him speak and from men he met in prison.

He said his book release at LifeTown, a place where young people with disabilities learn skills to achieve independence, made sense in that he also works to help young people facing unique challenges.

Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann, who oversees LifeTown and the New Albany Chabad Center, said Clarett is empowering young people and saving lives by telling his story.

The steal from Taylor, the rabbi said, represents the story of Clarett’s life.

“You come from behind and you snatch life back and you snatch opportunity and you create — from the darkness, you create so much light,” Kaltmann told Clarett during the former player's recent visit to LifeTown. “You’re going to give our kids at LifeTown, at the Red Zone and all over Ohio and the nation — you’re going to give them hope, and you’re going to give them a reason to be.”

>> Read more: Special-needs kids learn to avoid harmful drugs in unique program at LifeTown

Eckhart said the new book’s title is a positive spin on the title of a controversial ESPN Magazine article published about Clarett during his season at OSU that explored the possibility he would attempt to enter the NFL draft after the season. A photo showed him snarling and tossing his Buckeyes jersey to the ground.

Eckhart said he and Clarett are not pushing a book, but pushing a message.

“It’s about identity, self-development, personal development. And the issue with particularly African American athletes is that they get lifted up out of their inner-city neighborhoods on basically a conveyor belt. ... And even before that, their whole identity, everything, is about going to the NFL,” Eckhart said. “ ... They foreclose every other identity besides athlete, and that’s what was happening with Maurice, and that’s what we want to combat.”

jviviano@dispatch.com

@JoAnneViviano