It's been 13 years ... and counting ... but ex-Ohio State University star Maurice Clarett says he's back on track to graduate from OSU ... and expects to have his degree in two years.
TMZ Sports spoke with the former running back -- who dominated college football back in '02 & '03 -- and he tells us he tried to do the school thing when he got out of prison, but his attempted football comeback got in the way.
Now, Clarett says he's moved on from football ... and is focused on growing his packaging business and graduating from OSU.
"They opened up their arms to me and said, 'We'd like you to finish your degree' ... they've even offered to help me out with funding."
Clarett says he'll take most of his courses online -- since he travels a lot for work -- but says, "I'm very hopeful everything will work out."
Meantime, Clarett says he's hitting his stride in the business world -- "I formed a company with a guy out of Oklahoma. He has a Ph.D in Polymer Science. He's a whiz in the packaging industry. We distribute pallets and other packing material."
As for his past, which involved multiple convictions involving guns and other bad stuff that torpedoed his once-promising NFL career, Clarett says he's a different person now.
"I'm at peace. I'm not angry anymore. I'm not frustrated. I have direction ... I have a vision for my life."