South Carolina Running Back Marcus Lattimore officially announced that he will forgo his final year of eligibility with the Gamecocks and enter the 2013 NFL draft at a press conference at Williams Brice Stadium on Wednesday.
"This has easily been the best 3 years of my life" Lattimore said. But he'd go on to say "after lots of praying and discussion with my family, I decided this was the best decision for me. "
Lattimore suffered his 2nd year ending knee surgery in 2 season on October 27th against Tennessee. Dr. Jeff Guy, who performed the procedure, said Lattimore tore 3 of the 4 ligaments in his knee including the ACL which had to be completely restructured. But luckily there are no cartilage problems and says Lattimore is right on course for where he needs to be and shouldn't need additional surgeries.
Gamecocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier said he supports Lattimore's decision to enter the draft "100%" going on to say "at some point when you can play this game the way Marcus can, you need to be financially rewarded."
After a phenomenal 1st season in Columbia that got him a unanimous choice as National Freshman of the Year, the last 2 seasons were struggles because of the injuries. Still, Lattimore says he has no regrets. "I wouldn't change a thing that happened these 3 years. It made me a better man and a better person in the future."
Lattimore would point out 2 wins that stood out above the rest during his time with the Gamecocks. Their upset win over top ranked Alabama, and their win in Florida that earned them a spot in the SEC title game in 2010.
"All the memories we made, beating Alabama, beating Florida. It was so fun to go out there and have the confidence that you can beat these guys."
The Running Back said he plans to go to the combine in Indianapolis even though he won't be able to participate in the drills. He also said that he has yet to hire an agent.
Lattimore leaves as one of the Gamecock all-time greats. He finished his career with 2,677 rushing yards, sixth on Carolina's all-time list. He is the school record-holder in both rushing touchdowns (38) and touchdowns scored (41). He ranks fourth in rushing attempts (555), third in points scored (246 - most among non-kickers) and tied for second in 100-yard rushing games (11).