- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Marcus Lattimore is intent on making up for lost time
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Marcus Lattimore believes his knee injury was a test he had to pass, for himself and South Carolina. The junior running back tore his ACL while blocking downfield at Mississippi State last October. His mother, Yolanda Smith, rushed to his side and Lattimore's left leg was encased in a temporary brace as he hobbled into the locker room.
It was a devastating loss for the Gamecocks — coach Steve Spurrier announced it the next day with the words, "Our worst fears were realized" — and for the durable Lattimore, who was frightened at first he might not ever again be one of the Southeastern Conference's top rushers.
"I kind of felt like it was a test, a test to see if I was going to break, to see if I'd give up," Lattimore said. "Because there were times I wanted to give up."
Instead, Lattimore ran straight ahead into getting better. He leaned on his family and teammates and spoke with other football players such as Pittsburgh Panthers running back Ray Graham and New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper about dealing with similar injuries and their recoveries.
"I look down on my phone and see that it's Marcus Lattimore calling," said Graham, the All-Big East Conference tailback who also hurt his ACL last fall.
Lattimore said the advice and the friendly chats helped him focus on returning to the field, something he's ready to do when the Gamecocks open the season at Vanderbilt on Aug. 30.
"It's been a long time," he said.
Lattimore was South Carolina's Mr. Football at Byrnes High in 2009 and turned down Auburn to join Spurrier's Gamecocks in 2010. Lattimore became an almost instant success for the Gamecocks, carrying 37 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns to beat Georgia 17-6 his second career game.
Lattimore became the school's first 1,000-yard rusher in 10 years with 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as Spurrier's go-to performer on offense and helped the Gamecocks to their first SEC Eastern Division title
Lattimore was on his way to bigger things last year — his 818 yards rushing still led the team despite missing half the season — before his injury. So it's no wonder Lattimore's name has popped up on Heisman Trophy watch lists.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia battles Western influence
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow