The San Francisco 49ers are known for being a hard-nosed, smash mouth, “in your face” style of a football team. The 49ers love to run the ball on opposing teams, which is why the team has a plethora of backs behind All-Pro RB Frank Gore in Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, rookie Carlos Hyde and a very intriguing player in second-year pro Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore, a once potential top-10 pick, tore a knee ligament in the 2011 season and then dislocated his knee in a brutal hit during the 2012 season in which he had to be carted off the field. Lattimore was once known as the alpha dog at the running back position in college football and was a highly sought after college prospect, but due to his knee troubles the former South Carolina Gamecock fell to the 131st overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft where the 49ers then selected the highly sought after back.
It still has been a work in progress for Lattimore to ever be able to play the game at a high level again. Two devastating knee injuries are not an easy thing to recover from, but the former Gamecock will look to finally make his pro debut this season for the 49ers barring any setbacks. And he would be a huge boost to this 49ers’ run game.
With Hunter and James likely seeing the bulk of the third-down touches, Lattimore will likely battle Hyde for the short yardage and backup duties behind the No. 1 back in Gore. Hyde is an incredible runner in his own right, but Lattimore, if healthy, can blow Hyde out of the water in terms of overall ability.
Look for the 49ers to allow Hyde to receive the bulk of the backup work while the team begins to “ease” Lattimore back into action. The worst thing that could happen is the team attempting to rush the young runner back into the game, thus leading to another potential setback.
Nonetheless, the 49ers have set themselves up with quite a bright post-Gore future with Hyde and Lattimore learning from a potential future Hall of Fame runner.