Marcus Lattimore, Junior, Running Back, South Carolina
Claiming Marcus Lattimore’s sophomore season was tough would be like saying this Hunger Games movie was kind of popular. Not only did 2011 start with a quarterback disaster for South Carolina; it ended with Lattimore tearing knee ligaments in October and missing the remainder of the season. If he comes back healthy, Marcus will be a beast on the field, as he has been each of his first two years at South Carolina. His combination of speed and strength has led to 20 touchdowns and 2609 total yards from scrimmage in essentially one and a half seasons. The former SEC Freshman of the Year is one of the best players in the top conference in the land when he’s on the field. Recent news expects Lattimore to be back to 100% by the end of the summer but who knows how optimistic that is? For USC and for Lattimore’s draft stock, much depends on his level of health heading into this season.
Obviously if Marcus Lattimore does not make a full recovery or encounters a setback, first round projections for the 2013 draft go out the window. Teams will not bite on a running back with an unhealthy knee. However, if he rehabs as expected and is back to his old self by kickoff week one, there is no reason to think a team will not select Lattimore in round one. He possesses great size and vision and is arguably the very best running back in the nation.
12/8/2012 Update by Dan Levine:
It is going to be a very interesting offseason for Marcus Lattimore. The junior was injured mid-season for the second year in a row to cut his production short. Unfortunately, it was a gruesome hit to his knee that ended his year. Lattimore was one of the better running back prospects in this year’s class. Now teams will be weary of his injury history. Lattimore proved that he can be a workhorse (four games with over 20 carries). He has to prove that he can stay healthy as well. A strong combine workout should help. If teams like what they see, he could go in the late first or early second round.