South Carolina Finds a Replacement for Marcus Lattimore

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Of the 22 recruits that signed with South Carolina in the 2013 recruiting class, none will be expected to have a bigger role than four-star running back, David Williams (Philadelphia, Pa. Imhothep Charter).

At 6-1 and 200-pounds, Williams has the frame to develop into the downhill runner that Steve Spurrier had when Marcus Lattimore was healthy. Granted, Lattimore had 25-30 more pounds than Williams, but their running style is strikingly similar.

Like Lattimore, Williams runs with a purpose and is one of the more punishing runners in this class and possesses the requisite speed to get to the edge and turn it up field for a long gain.

Using his excellent blend of size, speed, strength and vision, Williams ran for 1,904 yards and reached the end zone on 23 carries this season and earned All-American honors and played in the Semper Fidelis game where he announced his commitment to Spurrier’s Gamecocks.

The team’s leading rusher to return for the 2013 season is quarterback Connor Shaw, and that is why Williams, who over the last three years has run for 4,328 yards and scored 56 touchdowns, is my pick to be the starting tailback this season.

However, he is unlikely to produce the same type of numbers that Lattimore did when he was a freshman. In 2010, Lattimore ran the ball 249 times amassing 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns while chipping in with 29 receptions and 412 yards and another two touchdowns.

After his freshman season Lattimore’s next two years were cut short by knee injuries and while there is no direct correlation to the heavy workload his freshman year had anything to do with the knee injuries, Spurrier will be cautious how he uses his freshman running back to make sure he has him on the field for the next three-four years.

He was one of the more unheralded backs to sign with an SEC this year, but make no mistake about it; the spotlight will be on him when the regular season starts.

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Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” on Sportstownchicago.com airing Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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