Published April 4, 2011 - 5:20am
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Saturday Down South is continually counting down the top 20 players in the SEC for 2011 – pre-season style!
Marcus Lattimore – No. 2
As a true freshman in the SEC, Marcus Lattimore did nothing short of electrifying the South Carolina fan base and the SEC. Eighteen-year olds just do not do this stuff in a 22-year-olds’ league. They are usually not physical enough, and it takes a while to grasp the offense. Coming out of high school, Lattimore was ranked as one of the best overall running backs, along with Michael Dyer, but I’m not sure anyone saw his impact coming as a unanimous selection of National Freshman of the year.
If you watched the opening game of the season against Southern Miss, you saw a glimpse that Marcus Lattimore was almost ready for the big stage in his first collegiate game. He just looked different, and he looked physical enough to make a huge impact on the Gamecocks.
Impact? He led South Carolina to their first ever SEC East regular season division crown.
In 2010, Lattimore had 249 carries for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and 92.1 yards per game. He was third in rushing in the conference, behind Cam Newton and Knile Davis. He always seemed to get three to four yards after contact. He ate defenders up.
However, the one aspect of Lattimore’s game that separates him from others is his ability to receive the football out of the backfield. He was the Gamecocks’ third leading receiver with 29 catches for 412 yards and two touchdowns. Lattimore is certainly elusive once he catches that football in space because he has great vision.
Marcus Lattimore is primed and ready to come back stronger in just his second year in the SEC in 2011. He has put on roughly 15lbs this off-season, making it harder than ever for one defender to bring down this beast. You cannot arm-tackle Lattimore.
The Gamecocks virtually return everyone, so Lattimore will have talent around him to help take the load off his shoulders. However, Steve Spurrier will continue to lean on Lattimore because he has what it takes to lead this football team to the SEC Championship again.
- #3 – Knile Davis
- #4 – Janoris Jenkins
- #5 – Janzen Jackson
- #6 – Trent Richardson
- #7 – Joe Adams
- #8 – Danny Trevathan
- #9 – Michael Dyer
- #10 – Mark Barron
- #11 – Aaron Murray
- #12 – Greg Childs
- #13 – Vick Ballard
- #14 – Morris Claiborne
- #15 – Dont’a Hightower
- #16 – Tyler Bray
- #17 – Brandon Bolden
- #18 – Stephon Gilmore
- #19 – Chris Relf
- #20 – Zach Mettenberger