Lattimore loved return trip to USC

Byrnes 2010 running back prospect Marcus Lattimore is already being touted as one of the top players in the country in his class. The elite prospect was on the South Carolina campus again Wednesday for a return trip to Columbia, S.C. to discuss multiple topics with the Gamecocks' coaches. Read inside to see how the visit went and if the trip to USC helped extend the Gamecocks' lead.

The 6', 207-pound Lattimore now has eight offers to his credit, including tenders from programs such as South Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and Kansas. The talented Byrnes star was on USC's campus Wednesday for around six hours meeting with Coaches Steve Spurrier, Robert Gillespie and Brad Lawing.

Lattimore, accompanied by his mother and sister, first met Lawing and Gillespie at the stadium before the two assistants took him to Coach Spurrier's office.

"That was the first time I had ever been in there. We sat and talked for about 30 minutes," Lattimore said. "He is a very cool coach. He was talking about all his history of coaching and all of his SEC Championships at Florida and [his ACC Championship] at Duke. He's trying to win an SEC Championship at South Carolina. He would really love to have me. He said he wants me, but he really needs me."

After the meeting, Lattimore toured the campus and sat in a classroom with current South Carolina offensive lineman Terrence Campbell, who talked a little bit about what it's like playing and going to school at USC.

Lattimore was then shown the dorm rooms by current South Carolina running back Brian Maddox. The sophomore tailback and former highly touted recruit also took the time to show Lattimore where the players hang out around campus.

After a break for lunch, Lattimore visited with strength and conditioning coach Mark Smith who was joined by current linebacker Gerrod Sinclair. Smith and Sinclair expressed to Lattimore the importance of working hard, and how it will pay off in the end.

Lattimore and his family then sat down with Gillespie, who he calls his "favorite college running backs coach," for an important discussion about questions his mother had.

"He just kept it real the whole time we were talking," Lattimore said. "My mom had a lot of questions, and he gave her the right answers. He kept it real, he didn't sugarcoat anything. He just told me if I'm better than that guy, he's not going to start him just because he's a senior. If I'm better than that guy, I'm going to play, but if I'm not, I'm going to sit on the bench. He just told me straight up. That was cool."

Lattimore says the USC coaches have also talked to him about how he fits into their offense as a running back who can also catch the ball out of the backfield.

"They talked to me before about how I'm such a good receiver," Lattimore said. "I think they got film on us in passing league and really liked it because I played a little receiver in passing league. (Gillespie) said I would just fit in perfect with the offense they run."

Lattimore is also looking hard at the Georgia Bulldogs and came away impressed at a recent summer camp on the Georgia campus.

"It's the tradition of running backs they have. They've had a lot of running backs coming out of there," Lattimore said. "The one-day camp I went to I just really liked it. They were on me probably more than anybody at the camp. Especially the running backs coach, he called me out on every drill. I could tell he really likes me. Coach Mark Richt, he's probably the coolest head coach I've ever met. He's just a cool guy to talk to."

Lattimore says not to expect a decision anytime soon as the 2010 prospect plans to commit at the Army All-American game that he has already been picked to play in.

While he will mostly be concentrating on helping his Byrnes team get back to the State Championship, Lattimore says he hopes to make it to South Carolina home games against N.C. State, Georgia and LSU this fall.

The versatile runner may not be ready to make a decision anytime soon, but he does have a firm leader at this time.

"(South Carolina is) still No. 1. They're way up there now. Georgia is second, but USC is sitting up there way high."

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