Lattimore blown away by USC atmosphere

Byrnes (SC) future 5-star running back Marcus Lattimore is considered an early lock to be the top prospect in the Palmetto State's Class of 2010, and the elite backfield prospect was on hand over the weekend to watch South Carolina's clash against the Georgia Bulldogs. Read inside as Lattimore talks about his time in Columbia, updates the latest in his recruitment and much more.

Marcus Lattimore, who measures in at a solid 6'0" and 207 pounds, grew up following South Carolina, but Saturday afternoon was his first time attending a Gamecock home game at Williams-Brice Stadium. Not surprisingly, he was blown away by the atmosphere and the passion of the fans in USC's showdown with Georgia.

"I'd never been to a South Carolina game before," said Lattimore. "It was crazy. The fans were great. I was sitting on the opposite side of the student section, and all I could see was them jumping the whole game. It was crazy with all those people."

As for the game itself, Lattimore came away impressed with the Gamecocks' effort in a narrow 14-7 loss to the no. 2 ranked Bulldogs.

"It was a good game. I think South Carolina played really well against Georgia, the number two team in the nation. I didn't really expect them to play as well as they did, but they shocked me a lot. The defense did good, the receivers did good, the quarterbacks did good. It was a good game. Georgia just made more plays at the end of the game."

While he was on campus, Lattimore had the opportunity to talk with a pair of USC coaches, and he was assured that he could be a featured piece of the Gamecock offense if he chooses to play his college ball at Carolina.

"I talked to Coach Gillespie before the game when they were warming up. He was just telling me how they had a good chance to beat them and to enjoy the game. I talked to Coach Lawing after the game with (USC commitment) Justice Cunningham. He was telling me they need a featured back, and I can be that back. I can see myself playing in their offense," he said. "They said if I come in and work hard, I could start. That would be good. I would really like to play a lot my freshman year where I could start or at least be a key sub. That would be good enough for me."

South Carolina and Georgia have jockeyed for positioning atop Lattimore's list of favorites throughout his recruitment, and the elite running back says the two SEC rivals are currently tied at the top.

"It's South Carolina and Georgia mainly. I like both of them equally. I got offered by LSU on Friday. I haven't talked to them yet, but I plan on talking to them soon. After South Carolina and Georgia it's pretty even."

While Lattimore has a clear-cut top two, don't expect a decision from him anytime soon. The Palmetto State standout has already accepted an invitation to the Army All-American Game in January of 2010, and that's when he plans to announce his commitment.

"I'm probably going to plan on making it at the Army All-American Game," he said. "When I make a commitment, I'll look mostly at the academics, the facilities, and how comfortable I feel with the coaches."

Another factor that could have some influence on Lattimore's decision is where his good friend and high school teammate Ricco Sanders ends up playing. According to Lattimore, he believes Sanders, a highly regarded Class of 2009 wide receiver prospect, is currently focusing on two schools.

"He's got mainly two colleges - South Carolina and Florida. I don't know which one he's going to go to, but he's a South Carolina boy," he said. "I hope we can end up playing together."

Lattimore's Byrnes team is off to a strong start this fall, and they're gearing up for the biggest game of the year this weekend.

"We're doing good. We're 3-0. Our past Friday night game, we beat Greer 63-0. This Friday we've got a real big game against probably the best team we're going to play this season. We've got Lincoln from Tallahassee coming to Byrnes."

The national recruit closed by discussing how he's performed in the first three games of the season and indicated that he's added a new dimension to his game.

"I've got 45 carries for 469 yards and 6 touchdowns so far," he said. "I think I'm playing more physical this year. As I've gotten stronger and put on a little more pounds, I can get those extra yards."

Lattimore plans to attend the Tennessee-Florida game this Saturday in Knoxville. He will also make return trips to South Carolina for the Tennessee and LSU games.

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