(WARNING: The video shows a horrendous injury. Discretion is advised, if you have a weak stomach.)
Marcus Lattimore had used the 2012 season to rejuvenate his NFL draft stock and reestablish himself as college football's best ball-carrier until the South Carolina running back suffered a horrific knee injury in the first half of the Gamecocks' game versus Tennessee on Saturday.
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 29, at 3:35 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
The support for Marcus Lattimore will continue with an admirable gesture by the University of South Carolina.
Pete Iacobelli of WAFB reported that "University President Harris Pastides visited with Lattimore Sunday and announced a rally would be held in the player's honor on campus Monday." The event will be streamed online at 5 p.m. ET via Gamecocksonline.com.
In addition to the incredible show of appreciation for Lattimore, the injured running back was also able to make it home from the hospital in time to celebrate a special occasion, as noted by ESPN's Travis Haney via Twitter.
Bit of good news: Marcus Lattimore gets to spend his 21st birthday (today) at home. I'm told he was discharged from hospital Sunday evening.— Travis Haney (@TravHaneyESPN) October 29, 2012
---End of update---
Watching the video (and it's not for the faint of heart), fans can see Lattimore take the ball off the left side, before Tennessee defensive back Eric Gordon comes in low to tackle him. Immediately, Lattimore's leg blows out.
In live action, it was difficult to tell exactly what happened. Hearing that Lattimore was down was obviously bad news given the ball-carrier's history.
Once instant replay was shown, the severity of Lattimore's injury became apparent. No official word has come out regarding the specifics, but it doesn't look good.
In the second half, Lattimore was transported to the hospital, per the Associated Press (via Yahoo! Sports).
An injury like this can derail NFL dreams—or at least present a tremendous hurdle. Willis McGahee's terrible injury with the Miami Hurricanes comes to mind, as does Tyrone Prothro's injury as a player for Alabama. McGahee has still had a successful NFL career, but the injury he suffered against Ohio State in the 2002 national title game didn't make that any easier.
Lattimore had 70 yards and a touchdown before leaving Saturday's game, but numbers don't matter at this point. As he was transported off the field on a cart, medical staff in tow, everyone's hearts went out to the embattled running back.
No matter what your allegiance is, this isn't something anyone wants to see happen. The respect shown by both sides as they knelt around him on the field was a fitting recess given the tragic situation.
Stay tuned for updates, and wish Lattimore the best.