SEC Showdown: Marcus Lattimore vs Michael Dyer

Marcus Lattimore returns for his sophomore year

This past season, the SEC was fortunate enough to have two super freshman running backs who were vital to their teams’ success on the field. Marcus Lattimore and Michael Dyer were a large part of the offense at both South Carolina and Auburn, respectively. Both Lattimore and Dyer could have both attended Auburn, but Lattimore chose to stay home at South Carolina. Imagine what that backfield would look like if both of these guys were in it. Here is SEC showdown number one: Marcus Lattimore vs Michael Dyer.

Marcus Lattimore – South Carolina

Marcus Lattimore is 6-0, 218lbs and hails from Duncan, South Carolina, where he starred at Byrnes High School. Lattimore was rated as the top overall running back coming out of high school. This season at South Carolina he did not disappoint, and his impact was felt in every win for the Gamecocks. He carried the football 249 times for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged just under 100 yards per game and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. Lattimore was third in scoring in the conference, behind only Cam Newton and Vick Ballard.

Another reason people are drooling over Lattimore – and a huge reason he was so effective this year – is that he can catch the football out of the backfield. You see many guys coming out of high school who can run the football, but they are lacking in the receiving game. Lattimore is the exception. He has very soft hands, as he caught 29 passes for 412 yards and two touchdowns.

Lattimore also came up clutch this year against Florida. It was win or go home for the Gamecocks, and Lattimore proceeded to carry the football 40 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns – talk about putting a team on your back. He did it all year with a suspect quarterback in Stephen Garcia.

Michael Dyer – Auburn

Michael Dyer, on the other hand, is 5-9, 215lbs and hails from Little Rock, Arkansas, where he starred at Little Rock Christian Academy. Dyer was rated as the number two overall back coming out of high school, behind only Lattimore. Dyer is more like a bowling ball who can bounce off of tacklers for extra yardage. He carried the football 182 times for 1,106 yards and five touchdowns this year at Auburn. Dyer also had some guy named Cam Newton scoring from five to seven yards out taking up what would be most likely his touchdowns. Dyer averaged six yards per carry this past season as a freshman.

Dyer only caught one pass for nine yards on the year. So, he wasn’t as effective in the pass game. However, Dyer came up huge in the National Title game against Oregon. On the last drive he was the very reason Auburn was in a position to kick the game-winning field goal. All total in that game, Dyer carried the ball 22 times and gained 143 yards. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry. When his team needed it the most, Dyer delivered.

The Showdown

Both Marcus Lattimore and Michael Dyer were very crucial to their teams this past season, and both eclipsed the magical 1,000 yard rushing mark as freshmen. However, with Lattimore’s ability to receive the football out of the backfield, it makes him more of a weapon on offense. Lattimore might not have as much speed as Dyer, but he is a downhill runner who takes two people to bring him down every time, and his soft hands receiving the football makes him stand out against any running back in the country.

With that being said, both Lattimore and Dyer were can’t-miss prospects coming out of high school, and it will be fun to watch both of these guys for the next two years. You’ll see them on the field together in Columbia in 2011.

Which one you got?

Michael Dyer will live be known for his run against Oregon