Future 5-star running back visits USC

Byrnes standout running back Marcus Lattimore may only be a sophomore in high school, but he's already gained the reputation of being one of the most dynamic football players in the state of South Carolina. Lattimore has gotten an early start on the recruiting process, and the elite 2010 prospect made an unofficial visit to Columbia over the weekend to check out the home state Gamecocks.

The 6'0", 207 pound Lattimore, who runs a 4.46 second forty yard dash, projects to be the no. 1 overall player in the Palmetto State's Class of 2010 and is expected to debut as a 5-star prospect next year.

Lattimore visited South Carolina's junior day in early February and liked what he saw in Columbia, but he made a return trip to USC on Saturday and learned more about what the Gamecocks have to offer.

"I went to South Carolina on Saturday," said Lattimore. "It was really good. Their scrimmage got rained out, but I hung out with Coach (Robert) Gillespie, their running backs coach, and Coach Brad Lawing. They showed me around the campus, and I saw the dorm rooms. They showed me a good time. I really liked it."

The Byrnes standout talked extensively with Coach Gillespie about how he would fit into the Gamecock offense if he does choose to play his college ball in Columbia.

"He told me I would be perfect for their offense because I can catch out of the backfield and I can also run and block. He says that's what they really need, and he thinks I can help take them to the next level if I come there. Coach Gillespie just let me know that he'd love to have me there."

According to Lattimore, his trips to Columbia have given him a very positive impression of the Gamecock football program, and he has a strong comfort level at USC.

"It's a real good program. It's like a whole big family there, and I really like that. I just really like Columbia. My sister goes to USC, and I'm usually up there a lot. It's fun in Columbia. I just like the surroundings."

South Carolina isn't the only SEC program pursuing Lattimore, though. The elite running back recently visited Athens, GA and came away impressed with the Georgia Bulldogs.

"I really liked it down in Athens too. They run the ball a lot, and I like their tradition of running backs. I like Coach Mark Richt. He's a real good coach, and he asks a lot about my family. I know if I go there he'd care about me. They put a lot of players in the NFL too."

Following his recent recruiting trips, Lattimore said that the Gamecocks and Bulldogs have emerged as the early frontrunners for his services.

"South Carolina and Georgia have the edge. I really like both of them."

Don't expect a decision anytime soon from Lattimore, though. He plans to do his due diligence in the recruiting process and likely won't make a decision until after his senior season is over.

"It's going to be probably my senior year. I think it may come after my senior season," he said. "The school I pick has to have my major (Criminal Justice). I want there to be family surroundings. I want to know they care about me, and also that I'll have a good chance to play."

There's little doubt that Lattimore is a special talent at the running back position, and when asked to describe what sets him apart on the football field, he gave the following response.

"I think I can get positive yards every play. I think I can be a game changer at certain times. I'm just a good all around back, and I work hard."

Lattimore, who rushed for over 1,900 yards and scored 30 total touchdowns in his sophomore season, plans to attend Clemson's spring game this Saturday and will make a return trip to Columbia for South Carolina's Garnet and Black Game the following weekend.

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