After watching the knee injury that South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore suffered back in late October, most assumed that the elite ball carrier’s football career was all but over. Even Adrian Peterson would have a hard time bouncing back from that one.
And still, Lattimore is reportedly hoping to hear his name called when the 2013 NFL Draft rolls around this upcoming April.
“Insiders also tell me that it’s apparent Marcus Lattimore will also enter the draft despite the recent injury suffered by the South Carolina running back,” DraftInsider.net reported.
This is a surprising yet understandable move for Lattimore, who has suffered two devastating knee injuries in just over a year. The Gamecocks’ star runner tore his ACL back in 2011, but managed to successfully rehab and return for the start of the 2012 campaign. After his most recent knee injury, this may be his best and only chance at extending his career into the NFL.
If Lattimore were to return to South Carolina in 2013, he risks suffering another injury, which would almost certainly kill any dreams he still has of playing football professionally. If he were to enter the 2013 draft, there’s still a slight chance that someone could spend a late-round pick on him based solely on potential. That’s about the only way that a door will ever open for Lattimore to land an NFL gig assuming that he can prove that he’s on the right track with his rehab as April draws near.
When he was healthy, Lattimore was among the elite running back talents that college football has recently offered. With impressive strength and explosiveness in the open field, the 6’0’’, 218-pound junior displayed the skills that would tempt many teams to take a flier on him in the first round. That was until his latest setback.
There’s no denying that Lattimore has the natural talent to be a star in the NFL. The lingering question, however, is whether or not he can get back to his pre-injury form and stay that way long enough to justify a draft pick. It looks like we’ll find out within the next few months.