Back on February 2, 2010 when Marcus Lattimore committed to the University of South Carolina we all knew he was going to be good football player. However, most of us never expected him to make such a impact on the program and its' fan base. Most fans expected the top high school running back to come in and play three years and move on to the NFL. Well that time has come, and it will be a topic of discussion for months to come on how this affects him and the school. Over the past two seasons, we have seen our star running back endure season ending injuries that may or may not have tainted his NFL career yet weighed into the decision.
As a fan of the Gamecocks, you never want to see a player leave but in the case of Lattimore, I think it is the right decision.
Most experts don't think Marcus will be fully healed and ready to play in 2013, so why not go ahead and move on the NFL where he can rehab his knee and learn a NFL offense. Oh and be paid for it.
Lattimore is the true team player and he knows the talent behind him at USC. He knows this will allow younger players such as Mike Davis and Brandon Wilds to get an opportunity to be the starting running back in 2013 without having to move back in the depth chart in 2014 when he would have returned at USC.
I think most people want what is best for Lattimore and his future so that is why you see so many say - "right choice Marcus." He can always return to school after his pro career and get his diploma so that shouldn't be an issue. Lattimore has proven on-the-field and off that he is a quality human being and will be fine in whatever he decides to do. I hope that he does return after a great NFL career to be a mentor within the Gamecock program.
The playing career of a NFL running back is a short one and I personally feel that every snap that Lattimore would have played in a Gamecock jersey this past season would only have hurt his NFL career. Will Marcus be a first round draft pick, probably not, but I don't think he would have been a first round draft pick if he was healthy. NFL GM's have been drafting running backs later and later over the past few years. What is certain is this was the best decision for Lattimore and his family given the circumstances. One of the NFL teams will be getting not only a great running back but a great human being.
Marcus, we here at LOHD wish you the best of luck in your future endevors. In an era where pro athletes are looked up to as role models, even when most shouldn't be, you will be one of the few that will make a difference by simply being yourself.