South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore will enter the NFL draft, according to a source close to the player. An official announcement is expected this week, possibly Wednesday. Lattimore suffered an extensive injury to the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in late October and has been rehabilitating vigorously. Lattimore believes that focusing entirely on his rehabilitation with NFL team doctors will help him recover the quickest, according to the source.
Lattimore understands he may have to sit out the upcoming season, but has a goal of jogging and catching passes at the end of March for NFL executives, and plans to visit with them at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Since the injury, Lattimore has spoken with other running backs who came back from knee injuries, such as Willis McGahee, Frank Gore and Eddie George. Lattimore believes the time is right to enter the NFL draft, in part to have as long a professional career as possible. Lattimore’s recovery is on schedule, according to the source, and he is not using crutches. Lattimore also has the blessing of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier.
Lattimore missed half of the 2011 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, but was able to return in time for the 2012 season opener on Aug. 30 against Vanderbilt, when he had 23 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
In three seasons at South Carolina, Lattimore, 6-feet, 218 pounds, has been one of the most dynamic running backs in college football. Lattimore has rushed for 2,677 yards with 38 touchdowns, including 662 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
On Oct. 27, against Tennessee, Lattimore took a helmet to his right knee and was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Columbia, S.C. Since then, Lattimore has received an outpouring of support.