CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Happy Marcus Lattimore Day! Governor Nikki Haley issued the official proclamation on the Gamecock football star's 21st birthday, saying he's not only one of the best football players in the country, but a great role model for the state.
The standout running back suffered a season-ending knee injury on Saturday, but Lattimore's pain is being felt by fans, strangers, and the social media community.
The blow to his right knee happened during the second quarter of the game against Tennessee.
On Facebook fan pages popped up, including "Lattimore Nation" with nearly 10,000 fans and counting. On Twitter sports figures and celebrities sent well wishes including NBA star LeBron James, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, and country singer Darius Rucker. On the school's athletic website, hundreds of supporters from across the country sent well-wishes to the running back.
He holds two school records, including career touchdowns, and some draft experts considered him to be a top prospect for the 2013 NFL draft.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him and that seems to be the general consensus, even from some of our normal rivals. The respect that Marcus Lattimore has on and off the field is very apparent," Carolina on King, USC's Charleston Welcome Center director Ashley Canady Slane said.
Last year, the football star suffered an injury to his left knee causing him to miss half of last season for surgery and rehabilitation. This time, doctors say Lattimore's right knee became dislocated and several ligaments were injured. This is a season ending injury, but fans are hoping for a second comeback.
"We just wish him the best and healing and support and just rally around him and the team as they go through this," Myla Brown said.
"It's a different leg thank goodness. Hopefully he'll rehab with the right leg and comeback and if not we all wish him well," Chris Brown said.
Even with Lattimore out for the second half of the game, the Gamecocks still beat Tennessee 38 to 35.
The school says people who want to send cards and notes are welcome to:
c/o USC Athletics Department
1304 Heyward Street
Columbia, SC 29208
or online at gamecocksonline.com
No gifts will be accepted.