Marcus Lattimore believes his knee injury was a test he had to pass, both for himself and South Carolina.
The junior running back tore his ACL while blocking downfield at Mississippi State last October. His mother Yolanda Smith rushed to his side and Lattimore's left leg was encased in a temporary brace as he hobbled into the locker room.
It was a devastating loss for the Gamecocks - coach Steve Spurrier announced it the next day with the words, ''Our worst fears were realized'' - and for the durable Lattimore, who was frightened at first he might not ever again be one of the Southeastern Conference's top rushers.
''I kind of felt like it was a test, a test to see if I was going to break, to see if I'd give up,'' Lattimore said. ''Because there were times I wanted to give up.''
Instead, Lattimore ran straight ahead into getting better. He leaned on his family and teammates and spoke with other football players like Pittsburgh Panthers running back Ray Graham and New Orleans Sain...