Williams #039;recruiting#039; Clarett to Grambling

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

GRAMBLING, La. -- Grambling coach Doug Williams carried a No. 13 jersey into his news conference on Tuesday, not hiding his interest in having Maurice Clarett transfer to the Division I-AA school.

''That's what he would wear,'' Williams joked. ''Isn't that what most of the questions will be about?''

The news conference was dominated by questions about Clarett, but Williams said no one at the school had spoken to the suspended running back from Ohio State.

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''We could use him,'' Williams said.

Clarett was charged Tuesday with lying about items stolen from his car, and Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said the school is ready to cut ties with the sophomore.

Tressel said he does not expect Clarett to return this season to the defending national champion Buckeyes. He would recommend that Clarett be released from his scholarship if the request was made by the player.

Clarett has been suspended indefinitely from the team, and also is being investigated by the NCAA.

If Clarett transferred to another Division I-A school, he would have to sit out one year in addition to any suspension or ineligibility handed down by the NCAA. He could transfer to a Division I-AA, II or III program and immediately be eligible to play after the possible penalties.

Hall of Famer Jim Brown, an adviser to Clarett's family, said last weekend he would encourage Clarett to transfer to Grambling should he be released by Ohio State.

Williams didn't have any more information about the possible move, but said he met with his staff to discuss the possibility of having the talented running back join the Tigers.

NCAA spokeswoman Kay Hawes would not speak about the Clarett case, but did say that if a suspended or ineligible player transferred, the athlete's new school would first have to declare him ineligible, and would then seek his reinstatement through the organization.

Grambling has won two straight Southwestern Athletic Conference titles with a wide-open offense directed by quarterback Bruce Eugene, the reigning conference player of the year.

''It would alter our offense to more of a running attack,'' Williams said, ''and would take some pressure off of Bruce Eugene. It would give us a chance to win a fourth straight.''