Marcus Lattimore

Marcus Lattimore comes home after being hired by South Carolina


South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier previously suggested former Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore would always be allowed to come back and be a part f the football program. Spurrier, who made that comment shortly after Lattimore retired from the NFL, has apparently made good on that promise.

According to Chris Clark of Gamecock Central, via Twitter, Lattimore has been hired and has started working for South Carolina in some unknown capacity. No official title has been reported or announced at this time, but Lattimore is a part of the program.

“We’ll find something for (Lattimore) to do, whether it’s football or general athletics,” Spurrier said in November, after news broke Lattimore is retiring from the NFL. “He has put everything into it. It’s disappointing.”

Lattimore was one of the biggest recruits to choose South Carolina during Spurrier’s run as head coach in Columbia. Lattimore was Spurrier’s biggest recruit even before Jadeveon Clowney, but Lattimore was at times held back by injuries. Injury concerns also brought Lattimore’s NFL career to an early halt, but his impact on the South Carolina program will rarely be overlooked.

NFL bound? Spurrier says junior RB Mike Davis might take part in senior day

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If there was any doubt about what the future will be for junior South Carolina running back Mike Davis, we might find out this week. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday Davis might participate in senior day activities for South Carolina this week.

Davis leaving for the NFL would not be a big surprise given the short life-span players at the running back position seem to have in the NFL. This also comes out the day Georgia running back Todd Gurley was reported to have a torn ACL in his left knee, putting his future in some jeopardy. Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore just retired from the NFL due to injury problems.

Davis leads the Gamecocks with 875 rushing yards this season. He has said before he would consider leaving early for the NFL. The Gamecocks have also allowed players leaving early to join in on senior day ceremonies. Jadeveon Clowney, Kelcy Quarles and Victor Hampton all did so last season, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Steve Spurrier says Marcus Lattimore can always come home


Before Jadeveon Clowney became a household name, it might be fair to suggest running back Marcus Lattimore is the player that helped Steve Spurrier take South Carolina from being a decent program to one ready to make a run for the SEC championship. The recruiting of Lattimore helped the Gamecocks take the next step in Spurrier’s plans in Columbia after a failed stint in the NFL. For all Lattimore has meant to Spurrier’s revival as a coach, Spurrier wants Lattimore know there will always be a spot for Lattimore in Columbia as long as the old ball coach is around.

“We’ll find something for (Lattimore) to do, whether it’s football or general athletics,” Spurrier said today, after news broke Lattimore is retiring from the NFL. “He has put everything into it. It’s disappointing.”

Lattimore played just three seasons at South Carolina, and he  rushed for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns in 29 games from 2010 through 2012. Lattimore battled injuries in his final two years before deciding to take a shot at the NFL before another injury put a potential career out of reach. Unfortunately, Lattimore’s injury woes followed him to the San Francisco 49ers, the NFL franchise that drafted him out of South Carolina in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Before Lattimore enrolled at South Carolina, Spurrier was coaching a program that had improved to be counted on six or seven wins per season with an occasional top 25 ranking in the polls. In Lattimore’s first season with the Gamecocks, his only full season, South Carolina won nine games. The following three seasons ended with 11 wins, although Lattimore only played part of two of those seasons due to knee injuries.

Marcus Lattimore made the right decision to leave South Carolina early


Marcus Lattimore suffered one of the worst leg injuries we’ve ever seen two years ago, and sadly, he never got back to 100 percent from it. The former South Carolina standout will reportedly retire after two years of trying to work his way back in the NFL.

Lattimore left South Carolina early — despite initially telling coach Steve Spurrier he’d return — and entered the NFL Draft after his junior year, the season in which he had that brutal injury. It was a risky move, given his first-round potential when healthy.

The 49ers selected Lattimore in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and signed a four-year, $2.46 million contract with a $300,584 signing bonus. In a sense, though, it was a low-risk move — had Lattimore returned to South Carolina and, like in the NFL, not been able to play he certainly wouldn’t have been drafted and earned that signing bonus.

In hindsight, Lattimore made the right move to give the NFL a shot, get a signing bonus and earn a paycheck for a year and a half before calling it quits. He can always go back to South Carolina and get his degree if he so chooses. By all accounts, Lattimore is a good guy who hopefully won’t have any problem finding work in football if he goes down that path, too.

Lattimore’s situation highlights the often high risk, low reward life of a running back. The average NFL career for a running back is short; teams routinely cycle through guys on a year-to-year or even week-to-week basis. A knee injury, even one far less awful than the one Lattimore suffered, can be a career-ender.

That’s why it’s tough to ever blame a running back for leaving college early and taking a shot at the pros, even if he goes undrafted. Staying in school represents a huge risk — sure, there’s a payoff if a player improves from his junior to senior year, but that’s another year of getting banged up and possibly hurt.

Lattimore, as it turned out, suffered his career-ending injury in college and wound up still getting paid. It’s hard to say that was the wrong call.

Steve Spurrier: RB Mike Davis ‘may go pro’


South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier hasn’t fully committed to a single thing regarding running back Mike Davis this season.

Spurrier said Davis could miss the Gamecocks’ season opener against the Texas A&M Aggies. A week later the coach said Davis was “sort of doubtful” for the game against the East Carolina Pirates. Davis played in both games.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when Spurrier remained noncommittal when asked about whether or not Davis will go pro after the season.

Prior to the start of the season, Spurrier proclaimed Davis would go pro “if he has a big year.” A slow start to the season obviously changed the coach’s tune.

After seeing what happened to former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, who suffered knee injuries in consecutive seasons before declaring early for the NFL draft, Spurrier and his staff should be pushing Davis out the door toward a professional career.

Davis is currently the Gamecocks’ leading rusher with 24 carries for 116 yards. A strong effort against the sixth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs Saturday opposite the Bulldogs’ Todd Gurley will once again place Davis among the game’s top running backs. It was in this contest last year, Davis burst onto the scene with 149 rushing yards. Davis will need to play at a similar level for the Gamecocks to have a chance against Georgia.