Kevin C. Cox
What does the future hold for Marcus Lattimore and how do fans of the South Carolina Gamecocks feel about it?
On TheBigSpur, there is an article about the latest on Marcus Lattimore. My friend heard from his brother who is dating a girl whose cousin is a student in a class with... you get the idea. It's all rumors. But anyways, people are talking and apparently Marcus Lattimore is thinking about jumping for the 2013 draft or at least letting NFL teams evaluate his injury and let him know how draftable he is. Yeah, I made up a word, let it be.
No, seriously. Cool.
Good for Marcus. The kid deserves the money, and the opportunity to play on Sundays against the best of the best. Amidst all the rumors, they also say this:
He is completely focused on the rehabilitation of his knee and his upcoming final exams.
A non-statement, statement that is actually a perfect image of the truth. We all know Lattimore is a class act, I have no doubt that when not fantasizing about the next opportunity to run over 3 Georgia Bulldog defenders, he is either praying or in church, or working hard on exams.
But, how do the fans feel about it? Well, as you see above, the fans are totally "cool" with this. This is for a variety of reasons. Most importantly because Marcus Lattimore is just a great guy. It is terrible that we only see how good others are when something tragic happens. But, when Lattimore got hurt, again, we saw fans from all over the country, even at our most-hated rivals post classy well wishes. And, we saw all of that because Lattimore is a player that everyone embraced. He was the kind of guy that everyone rooted for even if he wasn't on your team. Kind of like Tebow, except without the in-your-face Christianity. We feel bad for Marcus getting hurt while playing so hard for himself, his teammates and his school and fans. We feel awful that it happened twice. We want him to be successful, not just for 3 years in the Garnet and Black for in the pros and in life. So, it is easy for the fans to support him.
There were a lot of comments like this on thebigspur. And, as much as I'd love to pat us on the back and say, see, we're classy down here in South Carolina. It's not all about how mature we are. It's easy to let go of Marcus not just because he deserves to do whatever he wants and is right for him and his family, but also because we have been forced to win some games without him. And, much to our delight, our team has overcome that adversity. Kenny Miles has stepped up again this year, Mike Davis had a great year. Were it not for a red shirt year, I know Brandon Wilds would have had a good year running the ball. This isn't to say that we wouldn't feel this way about Marcus back in the Lou Holtz years, because we probably would. But, it sure is easier to believe in this team with or without Marcus.
Whenever he leaves the program, I'll miss him. I missed him this year, and last year. But, we did alright. When you add all that up, it's easy to pray for Marcus to get well and get paid to play on Sunday. And, I do. Personally, I hope he goes as soon as possible. He's earned it. He should only stay if he is hell-bent on winning the Heisman and the national championship and the SEC Championship. But, really, is that what is best for him?
Get well soon, Marcus. I'm encouraged about rumors and what that implies about the ability of your knee to recover in a way that not only lets you live a normal life, but to return to the form where you are an exceptional football player.