Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore made his much anticipated debut in a Gamecock uniform Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 against Southern Mississippi.
Many fans mark this date as the start of something special for USC in the years to come. I can agree with that prediction.
Lattimore arrives with great expectations for what he may accomplish in his three to four years. Hopefully, for Gamecock fan's sake, this highly recruited Mr. Football from the state of South Carolina will fair better than his predecessors.
USC may be better known for recruiting busts than NFL talent when it comes to the running back position. Former Gamecocks Derek Watson and Demetrius Summers both were highly recruited out of high school, had impressive Freshmen campaigns, got into trouble off the field, and ultimately did not live up to the hype.
But Lattimore, of course, is not Watson or Summers. Everything I've read on this kid and heard from him, makes me believe his "head is screwed on right." So me, like most Gamecock fans, foresee big things for the Byrnes High School product.
Lattimore showed flashes of his potential in the opener against Southern Miss. accumulating 54 yards on 14 carries with two TDs, and added two receptions for 21 yards. From my count, Lattimore never had a rush for negative yards, something USC fans are all too familiar with in recent years.
Lattimore displayed great vision and patience, especially on his second rushing TD. The play was designed to be a run to the right, following the zone blocking scheme. Lattimore found the cut back lane and with one quick juke, was in the hole and bruising toward the end zone.
Lattimore provides the balanced back (equal parts power and speed) that has been missing from the Carolina attack for quite some time. Couple that with improved offensive line play and Lattimore's freshman campaign could become historic for USC standards.
Speaking of those USC standards, former Gamecock and Heisman Trophy winning RB George Rogers still holds most, if not all of USC's rushing records. Rogers rushed for 5,204 yards and 31 touchdowns in his four-year career at Carolina. Rogers is arguably the greatest Gamecock of all time.
One game is certainly not a sufficient barometer to predict how someone's entire career will pan out, but I am confident in a prediction I expressed to some of my friends and family recently.
Marcus Lattimore will end his career at USC as the greatest player in Gamecock history.
Ponder for a moment what that entails.