After spending three years as a South Carolina Gamecock, junior RB Marcus Lattimore declared for the NFL draft in December of 2012. Lattimore is an interesting prospect for the NFL. He set a school rushing touchdown record and overall touchdown record for the Gamecocks early in the 2012 season (his THIRD season), he was the leading rusher with 662 yards and 11 touchdowns despite playing just nine games and has suffered some devastating injuries.
To get some insight on this intriguing draft participant, we ask a few questions of John Havard, The Gamecock Man, Editor of Garnet and Black Attack. Check out what John has to say about the standout running back.
Tale of the Tape
Class – Junior
Height – 6′ 0″
Weight – 218
Projected 40 time – 4.50
What path did Marcus Lattimore take to get to South Carolina?
After an illustrious high-school career, Lattimore was the nation’s top-ranked runningback in the 2010 recruiting class according to Rivals.com, as well as the tenth-best prospect overall. He chose South Carolina over Auburn and many other suitors. The only major concern about Lattimore at the time was that he had ball-control issues in high school, but he protected the ball relatively well over the course of his career at South Carolina.
What did he mean to the South Carolina program? Does Lattimore hold any records at South Carolina? Any intangibles that stand out?
It would be difficult to measure the impact Lattimore had at South Carolina. He holds multiple records, including most touchdowns in a season and most yards in a game, and won numerous freshman honors in 2010. More broadly, he was perhaps the key player in a trend towards South Carolina being able to keep more of the top in-state talent at home, which has played a big role in the program’s recent success. Lattimore has all the intangibles a team could hope for. He works very hard in the weight room, as proven by the muscle he put on prior to his sophomore campaign and his remarkable success in rehabbing from seemingly devastating injuries. He’s also a religious (although not in the ostentatious, Tim Tebow way), community-oriented guy who will create positive press for whichever team he plays for.
What are some of Lattimore’s strengths?
Lattimore is a power back. His principal value lies in his vision and his ability to gain yards after contact. He’s one of those natural runningbacks who anticipates contact well and never goes down at the point of the hit. His field vision is also uncanny, and as his knee recovers he’ll regain his excellent cut-back moves. He has good but not great speed–he has a great burst and gets to the second level quickly, but he will be caught in the open field by defensive backs. He’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He helped the Gamecocks out immensely by helping move the chains on check-down passes, and he’s a threat for a long reception on wheel routes. Lastly, he’s a very good pass-blocker.
What would you consider his weaknesses?
Obviously, the big issue with Lattimore is his knees. He’s undergone two brutal knee injuries, the second one of the more gruesome I’ve seen. The good news is that orthopedic surgery has come a long way in recent years, and Lattimore is reportedly very much on the mend. Considering his work ethic, I feel he’ll make his way back, but how long it takes remains to be seen.
What are the early NFL projections for Marcus Lattimore? How do you think he will do at the next level? Does he fit any particular schemes in your opinion?
Again, the question with Lattimore is his health. If it weren’t for the injury, I would say that he should go in the first round. As it is, he’ll need to be evaluated thoroughly during the weeks leading up to the draft. If the evaluations are positive, maybe he could still go in the first round, although it seems that second or third would be more likely.
Thanks to John at Garnet and Black Attack for participating.