Once a promising NFL prospect, Lattimore retired from football at 23 due to serious injuries to both knees.

By Daniel Rapaport
January 12, 2018

Remember Marcus Lattimore?

Way back in 2010, Lattimore burst onto the scene by rushing for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman for South Carolina. His combination of power and speed piqued the interest of NFL scouts from the beginning, and he was widely considered one of the best running back prospects in all of college football. 

His star burgeoned in the early parts of the 2011 season, when he rushed for 818 yards and 10 touchdowns in seven games. That's when his injury nightmares began—Lattimore tore the ACL in his right knee against Mississippi State, an injury that ended his sophomore campaign. He returned for his junior year and had some promising performances before he suffered an even more disastrous injury to his other knee. In a game against Tennessee, Lattimore discloated his knee cap, tore every single ligament in the knee and suffered nerve damage. 

He declared for the draft that offseason and was taken in the fourth round by the 49ers. The fact that he was drafted at all, let alone as high as the fourth round, is a testament to just how good he was when he played. But Lattimore never got back to full strength and didn't appear in a game for San Francisco before he retired from football at the age of 23. 

But Lattimore has never left the football world completely, and South Carolina coach Will Muschamp has wanted to bring Lattimore onto his staff in some capacity. He initially wanted to hire Lattimore as an advisor for the program, but the NCAA blocked the move because Lattimore was operating camps for high school prospects in the state of South Carolina. 

Lattimore has now resolved that issue—he can still run the camps through his foundation, but can't be present at them, per The State—and he's joining Muschamp's staff as a director for player development. Lattimore's role will be to guide players both on and off the field, and it's harder to think of a better candidate for this position than him. 

“No one knowns how to handle adversity and success as a Gamecock more than Marcus Lattimore,” Muschamp told ESPN. “He could have gone anywhere in the country and decided to stay here. He positively affects everyone around him. He has an infectious attitude and personality and is a first-class individual. He’ll be a tremendous asset to our organization.”

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