South Carolina held its annual Pro Timing Day on Wednesday and while there are certainly some high-profile names from the Gamecocks to watch in this year's draft, none drew more attention than running back Marcus Lattimore.
Lattimore, who suffered a dislocated knee and several torn ligaments against Tennessee in October 2012, returned to the stadium where his career officially ended ready to showcase just how far he's come in his road to recovery.
It's safe to say that everyone in attendance was in shock at where Lattimore is at this stage of the game.
Lattimore worked out through a variety of drills this morning behind closed doors for scouts and NFL coaches along with some former coaches, teammates and more with hopes of showing that he is well on his way to a speedy return to the game of football. He performs step-ups, box jumps, knee bends, lunges and more and looked extremely good doing so.
It was so good that Lattimore received a loud round of applause when he was finished.
No one should be shocked considering the high character and resolve that Lattimore has shown throughout his career. Still, the ability he has shown thus far to overcome such a tragic injury has to help give himself an edge heading into the upcoming NFL draft in April.
Even South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier was impressed with Lattimore today.
“Marcus was tremendously impressive in the weight room," said Spurrier after today's Pro Timing Day. "I didn't know who could do all the things he did. He did a whole group of agility drills, he jumped up on a box several times and had some weights and went down on each leg and so forth so he looks like he could easily play in about three or four months. I think he really helped himself today.”
The three to four months timeframe that Spurrier referenced means he would be ready at the start of the NFL season. Lattimore said after today's events that he expects to be ready to play in the first half of the NFL season. It's a long ways away from what some people considered, at the time, to be a career-ending injury. His teammates were in awe and proud of their fellow Gamecock.
“Marcus has shown great improvement and I'm really happy for him," said former teammate Akeem Auguste. "I love that he's been fighting, going through everything he's had to go through, he's still here and standing tall and I'm proud of him.”
Ace Sanders echoed those statements.
"Oh my gosh, you thought it was over," Sanders said when talking about Marcus Lattimore. "What he's done shows the kind of person he is."
Even with today's impressive showing, people will still have lingering questions regarding the durability and health risks that will come with drafting Marcus Lattimore. Spurrier thinks those doubts will get erased once word got out on today's performance.
“I think the word will get out today after watching him. I think almost every NFL team was represented here and they were all in there watching him. He was very impressive in what he's able to do right now.”
Impressive is an understatement.
People across the country will continue to follow Marcus Lattimore and he'll likely earn new fans each and every day. His story is truly one of amazement and if you aren't on the bandwagon yet, don't worry. There's still room.