Lattimore changes up decision time frame

Headlining the star-studded cast of prospects in attendance at South Carolina's junior day on Saturday was Byrnes (Duncan, SC) five-star running back Marcus Lattimore, the nation's no. 1 overall prospect in the 2010 recruiting class. Read inside as talks with the premier tailback about his experience in Columbia, his new time frame for a decision and much more.

Lattimore made the short trek to Columbia on Friday night with his friend and teammate Nick Jones. The two stayed overnight with Lattimore's sister, who attends USC, and then enjoyed an action-packed day on Saturday.

"On Saturday morning, we started about 9. We took pictures (at the Tom Lemming photo-shoot) for the Army All-American Game. Then we started the junior day. The first coach I met was running backs coach Jay Graham. I like him a lot. He's a cool guy to talk to. It was a normal junior day, but I learned some new stuff. They talked about academics, and we watched a highlight film. That was pretty tight.," said Lattimore. "We went in Coach Spurrier's office a little later and talked with him for a while. He talked about his history and all of his bowl games. I didn't know he won the Heisman in (1966). That was exciting to me. He showed me the depth chart and everything. Then we went to the (basketball) game later on that night and watched South Carolina beat Arkansas in overtime. During halftime the fans started chanting my name. That was pretty cool. I didn't know they knew I was there. That was cool."

Several of the facilities improvements the Gamecocks have recently made caught Lattimore's attention during junior day.

"They finished with the new training room, and I liked that a lot. It was real nice. They made some renovations to the locker room. They're going to be adding to the stadium too. I'm ready to see that."

Lattimore had developed a very good relationship with previous USC running backs coach Robert Gillespie before he left for Oklahoma State, but the prized Palmetto State recruit has enjoyed getting to know new running backs coach Jay Graham and holds a strong respect for him because he has lived the dream as a top SEC running back and went on to enjoy success in the NFL.

"I know he can help get me to that next level because he has experience in the NFL and college. He knows what it takes to get there. I think he would be a real good coach for me. I like him a lot," he said. "(Coach Graham) answered all my mom's questions. She asked him different stuff about the internships during the summer and about my major. I want to major in sports management, and we talked about that because he was a sports management major."

When asked how big of a factor his relationship with his position coach will be when making his final decision, Lattimore left little doubt that it will play a key part in which college he chooses.

"That's going to be a big one," he replied emphatically.

According to Lattimore, his relationship with the head coach will also factor into his decision. While Lattimore is maintaining that his recruitment is wide open at this time, he acknowledged that he is beginning to form a bond with USC head coach Steve Spurrier.

"I've met Spurrier a few times, and now we're starting to get to know each other better. I know he knows me personally. I've got his phone number, and he said I can call him whenever. I like Coach Spurrier a lot and my mom does too."

Lattimore had previously gone back and forth between plans to announce his decision at the Army All-American Game or at the state championship game, which his Byrnes team is an early favorite to play in this coming fall. However, the heralded running back prospect said on Sunday that he has made up his mind to wait until next February to announce his final decision.

"I've got it down now. I'm going to make it on Signing Day."

With an offer list that looks like a who's who of major college football, Lattimore hopes to learn as much as he can about his different suitors before making a final decision. According to the Byrnes standout, next up for him on the recruiting trail will be unofficial visits to Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina between now and the end of March.

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