49ers ink rookie RB Marcus Lattimore to four-year contract
Marcus Lattimore was the second of two San Francisco 49ers’ two fourth-round picks (131st overall) taken in April’s draft. The 22-year-old Marcus Lattimore was one of the most intriguing draft prospects and counted amongst the talented runners coming off the draft boards this year. Initially projected as a top-round pick at the beginning of last season, Marcus Lattimore slipped to the fourth-round in the 2013 draft after suffering a devastating and potentially career-ending injury.
The South Carolina product Marcus Lattimore holds school all-time records for most rushing yards, with 38, and total touchdowns at 41. A three-time member of the All-SEC team, Marcus Lattimore was also named the SEC Freshman of the Year after he set the Gamecocks single-season touchdown record, with 17 scores in 2010. Marcus Lattimore played in 29 career games with 28 starts at South Carolina, piling up 2,677 career rushing yards on 555 carries over three seasons for the Gamecocks.
However, Marcus Lattimore’s college career was cut short after he dislocated his right knee and tore several ligaments in a game against Tennessee last October. Marcus Lattimore underwent reconstructive knee surgery the following season and declared for the NFL draft in December.
Marcus Lattimore also tore the ACL in his left knee as a sophomore in 2011.
The 21-year-old Marcus Lattimore has been currently rehabilitating on the sidelines throughout this offseason while the rest of the San Francisco 49ers are going through OTA practices. Although Marcus Lattimore is eager to join the rest of the team on the field and still believes he can be ready to play this fall, the San Francisco 49ers training staff and doctors have cautioned him not to push too hard so as to setback the injury.
"I just want to train as hard as I can," said Marcus Lattimore. "But I understand why they want me to slow down… I want to have a long, healthy NFL career.”
While San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has been impressed with the rookie’s enthuisam and “mental toughness” he too wants for Marcus Lattimore to go with a slower, steadier approach towards a “100 percent” recovery.
"If he doesn't play this year, then he doesn't play this year,” Jim Harbaugh said last month. “But I think if anybody can overcome what he's been through, it's him, Marcus Lattimore.”
For what it’s worth, Marcus Lattimore is willing to head the coaches and doctors’ advice even if it means missing the entire 2013 season.
"I think that would be fine. Whatever happens these next three months will probably determine that,” said Marcus Lattimore earlier this month. “I'm just going to continue to keep working hard and if I'm called upon, I feel like I'll hopefully be ready."