Marcus Lattimore Injury: Alshon Jeffery Must Carry Gamecocks with Star RB out

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIOctober 16, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 08:  Alshon Jeffery #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates runs with the ball during their game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

In another twist to a weird season for the South Carolina Gamecocks, Heisman hopeful running back Marcus Lattimore will miss the rest of the season with a left knee injury, said head coach Steve Spurrier in a press conference. Lattimore will have surgery in 2-3 weeks.

Lattimore was the prime weapon on offense this season. He was on pace to be in the Heisman race with his 818 yards and 10 touchdowns.

This loss means that both Lattimore and quarterback Stephen Garcia, two players expected to lead the offense, are no longer contributors to the club. Garcia was dismissed from the club this past week.

With both of those weapons gone, South Carolina turns to their lone big-time offensive threat Alshon Jeffery. He has collected 30 receptions, 451 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.

The junior from Saint Matthews, South Carolina has all the tools of playing on Sunday afternoons. He is 6’4”, 229 pounds, runs about a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash and is one of the best wide receivers in college football.

Like any great receiver, they need a quarterback who can put the ball where it needs to be. Can Connor Shaw be that guy for the Gamecocks? He has thrown for 495 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions.

If Shaw can be accurate with his passes, Jeffery will take over as the leader of the offense.

South Carolina was expected to be a contender in the SEC this season. With only one loss, those expectations were in the process of being fulfilled. However, with Garcia dismissed from the program and Lattimore out for the season, things are starting to decline in Columbia, South Carolina.

So now it is all on Jeffery. He has all the tools to lead an offense; he just needs a consistent quarterback to give him the ball. 

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