Marcus Lattimore, the South Carolina running back who suffered one of the more gruesome leg injuries on a football field last fall, demonstrated to NFL scouts how far he has come since his surgery on his mangled right knee.
“I was a little nervous,” Lattimore told reporters after his workout. “But excited, too, that I could do this.”
Lattimore executed a series of drills to show evaluators from 31 NFL teams how far his surgically repaired knee is doing since the horrifying incident on Oct. 27 against the Tennessee Volunteers. He did forward and backward lunges, deep-knee bends, box jumps, step-ups and one-legged balancing drills while holding weights. All pretty remarkable considering the extent of his injury five months ago.
Lattimore was praised by former teammates and evaluators, but he still has a significant way to go in his rehabilitation to be considered healthy.
“They’ve seen me move a little bit. They’ve seen me use my feet, use my knee,” Lattimore said. “My knee’s fine. I think everything is going to be all right.”
Five months ago Lattimore could not be as confident as he was on Wednesday about his future. He was amid another outstanding season for the Gamecocks after returning from a left-knee injury during his sophomore season.
But in the second quarter of their game against the Volunteers, he was tackled at the end of a run in a way that caused his leg to contort. The result of tackle was a dislocated knee and several torn ligaments, which was a gruesome sight, his leg flailing limp. Trainers would not even allow him to see the carnage of his injury, forcing them to hold his head and chest down.
“Oh my gosh, you thought it was over,” Gamecocks former receiver Ace Sanders said. “What’s he’s done shows the kind of person he is.”
Lattimore, who was a projected first-round draft pick, says now that he is not concerned about where he will be drafted, just as long as he gets a phone call from an NFL team.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said he was impressed with Lattimore’s workout, considering the extent of his injuries.
Lattimore will not hold a personal pro day as he planned in January. He will allow his meetings with teams at the NFL combine and the Gamecocks pro day, along with reports from renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews be teams determining factor.
He will have his knee examined by NFL personnel in Indianapolis on April 5-6, and has meetings planned with St. Louis Rams and New England Patriots. Lattimore has already met with the Eagles.
“Once I get on a team, I’ll prove myself and prove that I’m a complete back,” Lattimore said. “I’ll be in full health, so I’ll be good to go.”