September 10, 2011; Athens, GA, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore (21) runs with the ball against the Georgia Bulldogs during the fourth quarter at Sanford Stadium. South Carolina defeated Georgia 45-42. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina NFL Draft Scouting Report


Measurables

6’0″ 232 pounds

Marcus Lattimore is one of the top running backs in all of college football–when healthy. Lattimore missed over half of the 2011 season after tearing his knee up in October. Prior to missing time, Lattimore was having an up-and-down 2011 campaign after completely taking the college football world by storm as a true freshman in 2010. As a frosh, Lattimore had 1,197 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns, but that’s not the extent of his game. He looked well beyond his years in terms of his pass catching abilities, hauling in 29 passes for 412 yards and two more scores. Because of his size, he is very hard for defenders to take down, especially on initial contact, but he’s not as powerful of a back as you would expect for someone who is over 230 pounds. He is elusive in the open field and able to make defenders miss pretty easily, which is impressive at his size. He has excellent burst and is very decisive with his cuts and with the hole he is hitting. His quickness to the edge is elite, and he can make something out of nothing in a hurry. There are times when you are watching him where he makes a busted run up the middle look like it was designed to go outside because of how quick he is. I don’t see him running in the 4.3 or maybe even 4.4 range, but his quickness and agility are up there among some of the best backs I’ve seen.

Very good student and has those intangibles that you look for. Going to have to work really hard to get back to full strength from that ACL injury, but for a prospect, that’s not the worst thing because you can come back from those types of injuries bigger, better, stronger, and in better shape and with more time to dissect things off the field. For his position, it’s not a good injury to have on your resume’, especially because there is a decent chance of it potentially happening again, and that could drive down his status if he is unable to stay fully healthy for a season. South Carolina needs to do the right thing for his future and not rush him back just so they can compete in 2012. If he is rushed back before he’s ready, it could be a very short NFL career for him.

If he is healthy, he is a no-brainer first round prospect in my opinion. There are virtually no flaws to his overall game. He has the potential to be a 25-30 carry workhorse back in the NFL, and do it for a long time provided his knee holds up. I think the sky is the limit for Lattimore, who will go down as one of the best backs to play in college football.

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