Injury- harm or damage that is done or sustained.
It’s not often that you see the injury bug bite the way it did in 2011 around the SEC. Two high profile running backs and one big time receiver injured, and all three gone for the remainder of the 2011 college football season. Everyone who’s played or watched football knows that injuries are part of the game, but for Knile Davis, Justin Hunter and Marcus Lattimore, three All-SEC performers, bouncing back from an injury will be the goal for 2012.
Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas:
The 2011 season was really over before it started for Arkansas’ running back Knile Davis. Just one week into fall camp, Davis was carted off the practice field with a season ending ankle injury.
Bouncing back from an injury is nothing new for Davis. He played in only four games his junior year in high school as he suffered a fractured collarbone. Davis will be looking to regain the form, that in 2010, made him a first team All-SEC running back. That year, he appeared in all 13 games while starting eight. Davis also became just the 10th player in Arkansas history to break the 1000 yard mark, as he tallied 1,322 yards, which was the most yards by any running back in the SEC.
Arkansas will need a healthy Knile Davis in 2012. Tyler Wilson and the Razorback offense will be breaking in a new group of wide receivers after the departure of Joe Adams, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright, which will put much more of the offensive load on Davis.
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee:
Justin Hunter was leading the SEC in receptions until Tennessee’s matchup versus Florida. It was just the third game of the season. Hunter caught a short pass and in the process, tore his anterior cruciate ligament. An injury which required him to have season ending knee surgery.
Hunter managed to average 22.1 yards per catch in just over a year on the job in Knoxville. Before the injury, he had 16 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns in just the first two games of the 2011 season. At 6’4” and 200 pounds, he was well on his way to becoming an elite talent in the SEC.
Things are looking up in Knoxville in 2012, the Vols return quarterback Tyler Bray, along with Hunter’s partner in crime, wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Hunter and Rogers will team up with the number one junior college receiver in the country, Cordarrelle Patterson, to give Tennessee one of the top receiving corps in the country.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina:
Unlike Knile Davis and Justin Hunter, Marcus Lattimore made it into the second month of the season before he had to hang it up for the year. He suffered a torn ACL in October, when he was leading the SEC in rushing.
Marcus Lattimore burst onto the SEC scene in just his second college football game. He rushed for 182 yards on 37 carries and put up two scores. What’s even more impressive, is the 42 tackles he broke on the way to carrying the Gamecocks to a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. In 2010, he was named the NCAA Freshman of the Year.
South Carolina fans are hoping that Lattimore will return to form in 2012. Lattimore will be called on early and often to carry the load for a Gamecock offense that lost big play wideout Alshon Jeffery to the NFL and is still breaking in a green signal caller, in Connor Shaw. Lattimore should have no problem being the man, as he has had four games of at least 176 rushing yards versus SEC opponents.