Posted October 29, 2012 on
AP on Fox
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier led the cheers of more than 1,000 people who turned out Monday to wish injured star Marcus Lattiimore a quick recovery and a happy 21st birthday.
''This is not a memorial service,'' Spurrier said. ''This is a happy birthday to Marcus and an appreciation for everything he's done and is going to continue to do for South Carolina.''
And then Spurrier gave out a gift of hope to worried Gamecock fans.
''The message he gave me was, `I'll be back,''' Spurrier said. ''So he's coming back.''
That was the last thing on anyone's mind after watching Lattimore's devastating injury. His right knee was dislocated and sustained significant ligament damage requiring surgery and maybe needing more than a year of rehabilitation. Lattimore was released from the hospital Sunday night.
Playing again, though, wasn't what Monday's gathering was about. Fans filled the area in front of the McKissick Museum on the school's historic Horseshoe, many wearing Lattimore's No. 21. They signed large cards of support, brought birthday balloons and sang ''Happy Birthday'' to their beloved star.
''I told somebody, he might be the most popular Gamecock player ever,'' Spurrier said.
The respect for Lattimore was evident on the field Saturday when Tennessee's players came over to show support as he was carted off the field.
Georgia coach Mark Richt said he and Bulldogs prayed for Lattimore's recovery after their session Sunday. Rival Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who heavily recruited the Lattimore before he chose the Gamecocks, said the player was everything that's right about college football.
''Regardless of what happens, he's been a great representative of the game of football and a great representative for his university,'' Swinney said.
Lattimore has gotten messages of support on Twitter from a ''Who's Who'' of sports stars and other celebrities like Miami Heat star LeBron James, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow and Hootie and the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker.
''I've never met anyone who says they dislike Marcus Lattimore,'' Gamecocks quarterback Dylan Thompson, who's known the running back since childhood.
On Monday, the tributes continued. Gov. Nikki Haley - an unabashed Clemson fan - declared it ''Marcus Lattimore Day'' in the state.
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, brought a bi-partisan letter from the state Congressional delegation about the wonderful influence Lattimore's had on South Carolina.
University President Harris Pastides shared words of good wishes from Vice President Joe Biden, whose personal aide is former South Carolina player Fran Person.
Lattimore was watching the ceremony on the Internet, Pastides said.
Seth Rose, a former South Carolina tennis player, brought his 16-month-old son Cole dressed in a Lattimore jersey. Rose recalled this summer running into Lattimore near the school's athletic complex and the star athlete graciously posed for a photo with the toddler.
''He really is a great person and a great role model,'' Rose said.
Lattimore electrified the university from the minute he pulled out his South Carolina cap in February 2010 to end a heated recruiting battle for the state's ''Mr. Football'' winner.
He made his mark quickly, rushing for 182 yards and two touchdowns in his first Southeastern Conference game, a 17-6 victory over Georgia. The Gamecocks haven't lost to the Bulldogs since.
Lattimore helped South Carolina to its first SEC East Division title in 2010. He tore ligaments in his left knee midway through last season and missed South Carolina's final six games.
The running back spent six months recovering from surgery to make it back to the field this year and he didn't appear to have lost a step. Lattimore had the Gamecocks in the hunt for a national title this fall at 6-0 and No. 3 in the rankings. South Carolina slid out of the top 10 with a pair of losses at LSU and Florida as Lattimore rushed for 48 yards combined.
He finished the season with 662 yards and 11 touchdowns, both team highs. Lattimore has a school record of 41 career touchdowns. If everything goes well, Spurrier believes Lattimore might add to that total.
''Can't wait until that 21 is playing out there at Williams-Brice real soon,'' Spurrier said.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Marcus Lattimore was injured in Saturday’s win against Tennessee. The South Carolina running back was running to the left side of the field when he was hit by Tennessee defensive back Eric Gordon. Lattimore’s leg then collapsed. “It looked severe on the field,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said during his halftime interview with ESPN. “Hopefully it’s not as severe...
What was originally thought to be a classy gesture by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who, is not only the first woman to serve as Governor of the The Palmetto State, but also a graduate of the Clemson Tigers, has turned into another war or words between Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier and Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
While Swinney was wrong last year after responding negatively...
On Saturday standout running back Marcus Lattimore suffered a gruesome knee injury that could potentially end his football career. According to an Associated Press report Lattimore suffered a dislocated knee, and ligament damage. However, according to South Carolina team doctor Jeffery Guy he suffered no broken bones or fractures and his left knee suffered no injury as well.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore's injury during the Gamecock's victory over Tennessee overshadowed both the game and most of the rest of the college football action on Saturday. South Carolina head football coach announced on Sunday that running back had suffered a dislocated right knee, but said the injury wasn't career-ending.
South Carolina Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier had coached a lot of very special players, but none may be more special than Marcus Lattimore. None may have a more difficult road to recovery either.
After suffering a season ending injury in 2011, Lattimore returned after a long rehab to show that he is still one of the most talented running backs in America. But after suffering...
As those who follow college football know, South Carolina's running back Marcus Lattimore sustained a very serious knee injury in the win against Tennessee. In searching for a reaction about this, we determined to not show the video or try to act like a news-type but provide a open letter to him. Below is our open letter to Marcus Lattimore:
I'm not going to put anybody through the hell of watching the Marcus Lattimore knee injury because it's undoubtedly the most gruesome, horrific football injury I've ever seen. Conflicting reports out of South Carolina said the star running back dislocated or hyperextended his right knee. Others said he tore all four ligaments and broke his femur and patella. Whatever...
Marcus Lattimore had his right knee dislocated and sustained ligament damage against Tennessee, yet South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier believes the junior could eventually return to football.
Spurrier visited Lattimore on Sunday and said the running back displayed a good attitude about his condition. Spurrier said team doctor Jeffrey Guy was able to put Lattimore's knee back...
Welcome to the Fallout.
South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is listed as being "out indefinitely" following an injury to his right knee during the Gamecocks' win over Tennessee. (AP/ESPN)
Every Dog Has His Day.
Georgia defeats previously unbeaten Florida 17-9. It's the first time since 1989 that the Dawgs have beaten the...
2014 OL Donell Stanley visited South Carolina for the USC/Tennessee game this past Saturday. Find out his thoughts on the game and what he had to say on Marcus Lattimore's injury.
It’s so refreshing that SEC schools can put aside their differences and Arkansas karaoke singer Liz Honey can belt out a Mariah Carey song for Marcus Lattimore. As you know, Lattimore suffered that horrific leg injury Saturday against Tennessee.
Liz Honey felt the right thing to do was pound out a great version of Carey’s huge hit, ‘Hero.’
Yesterday was Lattimore’s 21st...
The Tennessee Football program suffered its fifth straight loss in SEC play, falling 38-35 to the South Carolina Gamecocks. This marks the third straight year the Vols have opened 0-5 in the SEC.Before 2010, the last time UT opened SEC play 0-5, was in 1977. The South Carolina Gamecocks can celebrate snapping their two game loss streak now. Just three short weeks ago, this team...