NFL Draft 2013: RB Marcus Lattimore University of South Carolina, An Attempt to Resemble Adrian Peterson

marcus-lattimore

By:Bryan Luis

Marcus Lattimore was a HS star, with that being said every school in the country wanted to have him in their backfield. Can you blame them?

If you watch the HS film you will notice he’s playing against fellow draftee RB Giovani Bernard. He was compared to Ronnie Brown out of HS so people had high hopes before he headed to Columbia, SC.

If you have watched The University of South Carolina football team play in the last three years you know that the offense went through Marcus Lattimore.

Keep in mind they had QB Stephen Garcia who was inconsistent and same could be said for QB Connor Shaw, and WR Alshon Jeffrey who at best was flashy but not a guy who could set the world on fire.

As a freshman in 2010 he took the world by storm, not since Adrian Peterson in 2004 have NCAAF fans seen a freshman contend for a Heisman trophy until Johnny Manziel last season (keep in mind he was a freshman in ’10). He carried the ball 249 times for 1,197 yards for 17TD as a freshman in 2010. He also caught 29 passes for 412 yards and 2TDs. He won SEC Freshman of the Year.

When you watch his highlight reel you see the sheer strength as he gets yards after contact. He can do it all, he is what scouts “label” as a workhorse back a guy who gets better in a game with more than 20 carries. Plus he can do anything a RB is needed for run, catch, block, and like Boobie Miles I`m sure he can pass.

As a sophomore in 2011 he started the season on Heisman Watch, Preseason All-SEC, and Preseason All American. He was the #1 RB in NCAAF heading into his sophomore seasonb in the eyes of some (Herbstreit, Howard, McShay etc.). The Gamecocks also just landed #1 recruit JaDaveon Clowney so the goal was for an SEC title and a National title.

His season was cut short as he suffered an ACL tear while throwing a block against Mississippi State. He finished the season with 818 rushing yards on 163 carries and 10TD; he also had a receiving TD. Had he stayed healthy the whole season. He was on pace to break the 1,300 yard mark and over 15TD.

Before the start of his junior yr. in 2012, Marcus Lattimore looked to bounce back from injury and in 9½ games he had 662 rushing yards on 143 rushing attempts and added 11TD. He injured his ACL against Tennessee in the most brutal way possible. His first game back in 2012 vs. Vanderbilt he tallied 23 carries for 110 rushing yards and 2TDs in a 17-13 victory, he was the difference.

If there’s one running back in the NFL that would be compareable to its Willis McGahee from the Denver Broncos. Remember that before his ACL tear vs. the Ohio St. Buckeyes in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl he was considered a top five draft pick for 2004 (Sophomore at the time). But he made a career for himself and is slated to still play in the 2013 Season.

Final Verdict:

His rehab is ahead of schedule from what he said on NFL Networks’s “Path to the Draft.” But even with the rehab for the ACL injury I would STILL take him in the 1st round. His work ethic is incredible, he has a great attitude, and most of all he was productive when he played. No running back in this draft or next year’s draft has the talent he does, not even UNC’s Giovani Bernard.

People worry about health but that’s the risk you take for a talent like this. It worked for the Bills in ’03 when they drafted McGahee. I think he’ll fall to the third although some say he may go undrafted. But as I tweeted out last night rewriting this shows the confidence i have in his abilities.

“#DaDonsVerdict Marcus Lattimore will be a Pro-Bowl RB if 31 teams miss him i know that one team that gets him wont be sorry #BestPick they’d ever take”

The best team for him would be a situation where he can sit out half a season or a season to learn the system for a team that may need a running back down the road. I say a team like the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals or better yet the Atlanta Falcons with Michael Turner near the end . But an interesting one would be the Denver Broncos giving that McGahee maybe done and Knowshon Moreno is plain soft.

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