South Carolina Football

Marcus Lattimore: Knee Injury Won't Prevent Successful NFL Career for Star RB

LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 29: Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks breaks free from the Kentucky Wildcats during at Commonwealth Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.    (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images
Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2012

Marcus Lattimore may be facing an uphill battle following back-to-back devastating knee injuries, but he will be a successful and productive NFL star when he enters the league.

South Carolina's fallen running back has been one of the most talented college football stars over the past three years. Despite suffering an ACL injury in 2011, he came back and dominated defenses this season to the tune of 662 yards and 11 touchdowns on 143 attempts. 

Simply put, the man is a beast. His determination and unteachable will is top notch. Doubters need to look no further than his recovery from last year's injury. Although suffering a second season-ending injury in as many seasons is a blow mentally, Lattimore has proved that injuries won't keep him off the field.

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has already said that doctors told him the dislocated knee won't prevent Lattimore from playing football again, reports The Post and Courier in Charleston's Darryl Slater.

We've seen players return from devastating knee injuries time and time again. It's evident that modern-day medicine has improved leaps and bounds in recent years and that players are able to bounce back quicker and at times healthier than before the injury occurred. 

The recently turned 21-year-old just needs to look at recent history. The Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson and Kansas City Chiefs' Jamaal Charles both returned from devastating knee injuries this season and are lighting up the NFL. Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has returned from an insane three ACL injuries.

Perhaps more importantly for Lattimore, Willis McGahee is a prime example of an athlete refusing to give up on his dreams.

For many college football fans, the image of McGahee going down in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl is forever ingrained in their minds. Still, he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2003 draft and has been a consistent and productive NFL running back ever since. More telling than anything else, McGahee has been better in the second half of his career than he was in the beginning. 

At this point, only Lattimore could prevent himself from playing in the NFL by forfeiting his dream. The opportunity will be there when his body is ready to return to the field. The league is always willing to accept talented football players, and Lattimore is a rare specimen with his vision, receiving skills and complete play-making abilities.

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