Everyone knows that injuries are a regular part of football, but when they curtail the career of a promising player it is still disheartening. Such is the case with the announcement that former University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore is likely retiring from the San Francisco 49ers without ever playing a game in the NFL.
From the moment Lattimore joined the South Carolina Gamecocks after a standout career at Byrnes High School, it was clear that he was a difference maker.
In just his second career game, Lattimore rushed for 182 yards and two touchdowns to lift the Gamecocks to a victory over the University of Georgia. Later in the season he helped USC to a victory over number one Alabama as the Gamecocks reached the SEC Championship Game for the only time in school history.
He finished the season with 1,197 yards rushing (4.8 yards per attempt) and 17 touchdowns.
As a sophomore, he seemed headed to All-America status and was discussed as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate after rushing for 176 yards against Georgia and 246 yards against Navy.
He was helping the Gamecocks to their sixth victory in their first seven games when he suffered a severe knee injury against Mississippi State.
Despite the injury to Lattimore, the Gamecocks finished 11-2 and in the top 10 in the final AP rankings.
After intense rehab, Lattimore returned to the lineup to start the 2012 season and rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns against Vanderbilt in the season opener.
The Gamecocks bolted to a 6-0 start and Lattimore was a huge reason as he rushed for 549 yards (including three 100 yard games) and nine touchdowns.
After being limited in losses to LSU and Florida, Lattimore was off to a strong start against Tennessee with 65 yards rushing and a touchdown.
However, during the game Lattimore suffered a gruesome knee injury (torn ACL, PCL, and MCL) that would prove to be career ending. Read the rest of this entry →