Former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore dealt with two devastating knee injuries during his college career.
Deebo Samuel, who now stars for the Gamecocks as a wide receiver and kick returner extraordinaire, is now dealing with a serious injury of his own, breaking a bone in his leg in last week’s loss to Kentucky.
As Samuel starts on the road to recovery, Lattimore passed along words of encouragement in a video interview with The State.
“He was on his way to winning the Heisman (Trophy) in my opinion,” Lattimore said. “But my message (to him) was that ‘Everybody is watching Deebo Samuel right now. The whole world. The whole state of South Carolina. All eyes on are on you. Social media exploded when that injury happened. Use this moment as a positive. Don’t take it as a negative. I know you’re down. I know you’re frustrated. I know you feel like your goals and dreams are far away now. But they’re not. And you can use this moment to show people how to overcome adversity.'”
Samuel tweeted after last Saturday’s loss that he would return this season. But coach Will Muschamp said Sunday that the fourth-year junior had undergone successful surgery and that would be “out for extended period of time.”
Samuel returned kickoffs for touchdowns in each of South Carolina’s first two games and leads the team in every major receiving category, including yards (250), touchdowns (3), yards per game (83.3) and yards per reception (16.7).