Freshmen of impact: RB Marcus Lattimore ready to fly for Gamecocks

Five-star recruit Marcus Lattimore looks like he's going to be the man for South Carolina. (The State)

Five-star recruit Marcus Lattimore looks like he's going to be the man for South Carolina. (The State)

Third in a series . . .

This week, answers come.

Until now, the worth of “elite” prospects was based on high school production and perceived potential. Now we get to see for certain if they have what it takes to become college football’s new stars.

We’ll get our first glimpse Thursday night when South Carolina opens up against Southern Miss. Marcus Lattimore, the No. 1 running back in the country, according to Rivals.com, will suit up for the Gamecocks in the ESPN nationally-televised game. Georgia, which intensely recruited the 6-foot, 210-pound tailback, will get an in-person look at Lattimore next week.

So far Lattimore has done his part. He managed to get through preseason camp without injury and has pushed established players in front of him on the depth chart. He remains behind senior Brian Maddox and sophomore Kenny Miles on the depth chart and head coach Steve Spurrier won’t say how much Lattimore might play. But indications are we’ll see a lot of him before the night is over.

“Marcus Lattimore will be in the game early,” Spurrier said on his radio show Tuesday night. “He’s really played well in the preseason. Some people may say he played well enough to start, and he probably has. Still, Brian Maddox, a senior and excellent leader throughout the summer, will be our starter the first game. Marcus is a very good back but we’re going to let him earn his way as we go through the season.”

Everybody has them, the blue-chip recruits who supposedly are can’t-miss, major-college stars or, at the very least, sure-fire contributors. But the amount of time that works out is roughly about the same as it doesn’t.

Meanwhile, the pressure to live up to their billings can be enormous on these players. Lattimore, who starred Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C., was wooed by literally every major program in the South. But he chose instead to be the in-state kid that would try to change the fortunes of the state school.

So far, Lattimore appears to be handling it well. “First of all, I want to win the game and help the team in any way that I can – scoring, any way I can,” Lattimore told The State.

Meanwhile, the anticipation of running through the smoke into Williams-Brice Stadium with “2001” blaring is understandably hard to contain.

“I’m just excited and ready to experience it,” Lattimore said. “I know it’s going to be something I remember for the rest of my life.”

Similar memories will be getting made all over this week.

Following are just some of the local football heroes who are expected to see action in their first college games in the coming days: USC WR Markeith Ambles (Henry County), Florida OLB Neiron Ball (Jackson), Georgia Tech ATH B.J. Bostic (Jefferson County), Florida RB Mack Brown (M.L. King), Maryland OL Max Garcia (Norcross), Tennessee OT JaWuan James (North Gwinnett), Georgia Tech S Isaiah Johnson (Sandy Creek), Miami RB Storm Johnson (Loganville), Notre Dame WR Tai-ler Jones (Gainesville), Vanderbilt WR Jonathan Krause (South Gwinnett), Georgia S Alec Ogletree (Newnan), Tennessee WR Da’Rick Rogers (Calhoun), Kentucky RB/KR Raymond Sanders (Stephenson), South Carolina QB Connor Shaw (Flowery Branch),  Florida LB Michael Taylor (Westlake) and Auburn DT Jeffrey Whitaker (Warner Robins).

With input from writers and bloggers across the South, here’s the freshmen I expect to have the greatest impact this fall (by all means, feel free to agree or disagree):

ALL-SOUTH FRESHMEN OF IMPACT

SEC East

Florida — DB Matt Elam
Georgia — S Alec Ogletree
Tennessee — OT JaWuan James
Vanderbilt — WR Jonathan Krause
Kentucky –CB Jerrell Priester
S. Carolina — RB Marcus Lattimore

SEC West

Alabama — CB Demarcus Milliner
Arkansas — DT Byran Jones
Auburn — WR Trovon Reed
LSU — S Eric Reed
Miss. State — WR Michael Carr
Ole Miss — DE Carlos Thompson

ACC Coastal

Duke — RB Josh Sneed
Georgia Tech — S Isaiah Johnson
Miami — OT Seantrel Henderson
N. Carolina — OL James Hurst
Virginia — OL Morgan Moses
Va. Tech — DT Derrick Hopkins

ACC Atlantic

Boston College — WR Bobby Swigert
Clemson — WR De’Andre Hopkins
FSU — LB Jeff Luc
Maryland — LB David Mackall
N.C. State — OT Robert Crisp
Wake Forest — QB Tanner Price

Previously . . .

>>> Georgia freshmen: To play or not play QB Hutson Mason?

>>> Tech freshmen: Isaiah Johnson poised to make sudden impact

  • Follow me on Twitter
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  • E-mail specific recruiting questions to me at AJCrecruiting@yahoo.com. I’ll answer them in the “Mailbag” each Friday.

66 comments Add your comment

hogmtndawg

September 1st, 2010
6:28 am

Ain’t even gonna say it . . .

Spike

September 1st, 2010
6:50 am

Jeff Luc at FSU is a beast. I’m willing to bet Lattimore will, in the long run, regret his choice.

AUGUSTAJACKET

September 1st, 2010
6:53 am

Go ahead and say it uga sucks

Hey, AUGUSTAJACKET

September 1st, 2010
7:08 am

Hey AUGUSTAJACKET still talking smack. One win over the Dawgs in about a decade. How pathetic!

SatchelBuzz

September 1st, 2010
7:09 am

I’ll say it,….THWG!!!! Go ‘Jackets!

devildawg

September 1st, 2010
7:22 am

Hey Tech, lemme know when you sell out a home game. NERDS!!!
In a couple of years, you won’t even be the biggest draw in your own city! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Go Panthers!

Vinings Tiger

September 1st, 2010
7:28 am

Don’t forget Shaun Kithcens and D, McNeal of Banneker, Jessel Curry of Buford, and Jonathon Mincy of SW Dekalb are all expected to contribute earrly and often for Auburn.

ga gator

September 1st, 2010
7:44 am

Saw Lattimore play on ESPN against Ft. Lauderdale last year and he was clearly the best player on the field. He did have one problem though; fumbles. I believe he had three of them and the last one caused his team to lose the game.

Tom, RGF

September 1st, 2010
7:46 am

Augusta Jacket, lost your last game to Iowa 24 to 14. Fricking Iowa! A Hawkeye ate your bugs. So shut up until you win a game. Fricking Iowa. Geez.

naganole

September 1st, 2010
8:01 am

FYI, Jeff Luc isn’t even in the two deep. Lamarcus Joyner will have a bigger impact IMO, Chip. He’ll be the starting K/R, where he’ll make his make this year.

naganole

September 1st, 2010
8:03 am

make his mark*

Tide Roll

September 1st, 2010
8:06 am

Bama done had em the best recrutin class ever Most ovem dont no how to read er rite but man they shaw can play Bama the best team in the sec this sentery gonna keep winnin the sec

Douglas

September 1st, 2010
8:21 am

I’m a UGA grad but I think Mack Brown is going to surprise some folks. He seems to be the real deal: fast, great vision, and strong.

Paddy

September 1st, 2010
8:48 am

Luc will see as much playing time as any frosh at FSU. I do believe he is in the LB rotation at the start of this season.

joe

September 1st, 2010
8:50 am

Justin Hunter

hammerhead

September 1st, 2010
8:59 am

Mack Brown has already established himself as an outstanding coach with a MNC at Texas after winning at North Carolina, of all places… Oh wait, that Mack Brown.. Sorry.

Cuttysark

September 1st, 2010
9:01 am

One more day until the college football season actually begins. Looking forward to seeing Latimore on the field after all of the recruiting hype over this kid. Hope he pans out better than the Bryce Brown kid who went to Tennessee then left for Kansas State to play with his brother Arthur who was also another 5 stars kid who left the U early after seeing limited action his freshman year. My hunch is Mr. Johnson might do better than most of the hyped 5 stars freshman. Thanks Chip. For more Georgia Tech football articles go to http://isportsweb.com. Go Jackets!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 1st, 2010
9:06 am

Demtrius Summers. Before you anoint the next great tailback for USC lets remember this last great hope for the school! LOL!

t

September 1st, 2010
9:16 am

Hey, if they’re not playing for one of the in-state colleges WE DON’T CARE!

dawg fans=WINDOW LICKER'S

September 1st, 2010
9:18 am

30 YEAR’S AND COUNTING!!!

Coach

September 1st, 2010
9:28 am

Was Lattimore a local kid in S.C. I don’t understand any other reason why the #1 running back in the country would sign with them. USC, UGA, Texas, Bama, but S.C.????

es54

September 1st, 2010
9:48 am

What is most unsettling is all the elite prospects that come from Georgia and don’t end up at UGA. That really is very disheartening. They add up too.
For example Eric Berry…

TRUE BLUE

September 1st, 2010
9:53 am

Safety Kenny Ladler of Vanderbilt University STEPHENSON HIGH SCHOOL

Wild e

September 1st, 2010
9:59 am

Former Woodward Academy RB Juwan Thompson will make an early impact at Duke. He was a steal for them!

NaGaGator

September 1st, 2010
10:30 am

Lattimore seems to have his head on straight. He didn’t get caught up in the Hostessgate episode when 2 of his other teammates did last year, even tho’ Lamie sure tried to get Lattimore.

I agree with naganole. Luc looks like a man among boys but does he play like one? Same with Wilder? Time will tell.

Jealous of Dawgs

September 1st, 2010
10:34 am

es54….

You really don’t know too much do you? There are only so many schollies available. There is NO WAY Geirgia could sign them all. The state of Georgia is one of the tops in the country for producing D1 prospects. What isn’t troubling is that UGA usually gets the best of the best from this group every year. Sure there are some that slip through. But, there are also that slip through from other states to play for Georgia. Think before you post nonsense!!

ryan

September 1st, 2010
10:54 am

I think Ogletree could have and impact under Grantham with the new aggressive defense .

npgator

September 1st, 2010
11:16 am

The General Feeling

September 1st, 2010
11:20 am

Chip,

Marcus Lattimore is third string per your article. Sure, he will see some action, but Ju’Wuan James of North Gwinnett will be starting at OT for Tennessee. Is anyone else starting as a true Frosh?

Delbert D.

September 1st, 2010
11:45 am

Isaiah Johnson is starting at safety.

Chuck

September 1st, 2010
12:36 pm

Hey, Coach, read the article. Lattimore is from Byrnes HS in Duncan, SC (near Spartanburg.) Yes, he was a local kid who stayed in-state.

Shathead

September 1st, 2010
12:41 pm

Lattimore will follow other great gamecock 5 star RB’s into obscurity: Derek Watson, Summers, now Lattimore. He’ll be trying to be a rapper 4 years from now, telling everyone who’ll listen “Man, them coaches didn’t let me do my thing”.

jjjj

September 1st, 2010
12:44 pm

“Following are just some of the local football heroes who are expected to see action in their first college games in the coming days:”

You overlooked TJ Stripling, who Richt has said will play. But, that’s okay, you remembered all the Florida guys anyway.

tiger dan

September 1st, 2010
1:32 pm

He totally forgot about Michael Dyer for auburn. He was ranked higher than Lattimore at running back coming out of high school. He wasen’t even mentioned in the article. There were only 3 5star backs in the class. Did he get his journalism degree online or something?

kb

September 1st, 2010
1:45 pm

Here is the question of the day……….Why is this blog all about Lattimore? Who cares about why did the chicken cross the other side of the road? Go DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!

seabass

September 1st, 2010
2:06 pm

UGA could have filled there recruiting card just by recruiting the Atlanta area. Step it up.

GT Sambo

September 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

I understand just as much as anyone that the local paper is going to have a majority of its sports coverage slanted toward the largest in-state institution. But I just find it hilarious when Dawg fans jump on here and yell and scream when something else other that their precious Dawgs gets mentioned. I am sure the UGA fans actually think this blog post contains some anti-UGA sentiments (he didn’t pick the Dawgs, after all). Give me a break! The world does not revolve around UGA football, especially when they haven’t had any major success in 5 years.

naganole

September 1st, 2010
2:12 pm

Don’t nap on USCe. That team is full of upperclassmen and that defense is very good…

dtrip

September 1st, 2010
2:49 pm

MS State WR is Michael Carr not Greer

Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!

September 1st, 2010
2:58 pm

Eric Berry’s father played at Tennessee. He was always a UT lock. People that constantly talk about sports, but don’t know the FACTS make me want to slap a fool.

OldSchoolTechFanatic

September 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

I am just ready for some college football. Line em up and let the players decide who is the BEST !!!

Oompa Loompa Dawg

September 1st, 2010
4:53 pm

Look at the midgets falling out of the sky !

TampaGator

September 1st, 2010
5:40 pm

The freshman impact player for Florida on offense will be Mack Brown. But the bigger freshman impact players on Florida’s team will come on defense side of the ball….including Jelani Jenkins at MLB, Sharief Floyd at DT, Dominque Easley at DE, and Ronald Powell at DE. All are going to be in the defensive rotations…and Jelani Jenkins is going to start at MLB….big time player. The Gators were loaded…and they have just reloaded. It is good to be a Florida Gator.

TampaGator

September 1st, 2010
5:50 pm

He isn’t a freshman….he is a soph….but the new Gator TE is Omarius Hines and he is 223 lbs, is built like Superman, runs a 4.3 in the 40, catches everything thrown to him, and has TB running skills. The Florida coaches are calling him “The New Freak.” You will soon be saying….”Oh my Gosh!” I look forward to one of Georgia’s 235lb. 3-4 linebackers trying to cover and tackle him.

TampaGator

September 1st, 2010
5:57 pm

Thompson, Moore, Rainey, Debose, Dunbar, Hines….and others = uncoverable…..= John Brantely…..= All SEC QB.

And when he isn’t throwing to the above, Brantley is handing off to Demps, Moody, Gillislee, and Brown.

And all the above protected by the best and most deep o-line in the conference.

And the D is deeper and better than last year.

SCARY….my friends. Real SCARY.

Football on Saturday….it is going to be fun this year. See all you Dawg fans in Jax this coming November. Hope your team is undefeated then. Nice nite in Clearwater. Going fishing now.

Damon Evans

September 1st, 2010
6:07 pm

What does a man have to do to get a good martini around here?

Dawg4Life

September 1st, 2010
6:19 pm

Uh GT Sambo, you don’t consider the Dawgs finishing # 2 in 07 a major success within the last five years? What stats have you been reading moron?

VA Slims

September 1st, 2010
6:42 pm

Lattimore and friends will run all over UGA just like many other programs this upcoming season. I laugh when I read about their new DC coming in and having such instant and great success. Laugh.

ryan

September 1st, 2010
6:53 pm

Hey TampaGator i think the game is much closer than you think last two years under soft Willie’s defence is why UF was able to run the scoreboard but this year junkyard dawg is back Brantley is not a RB like other guy . I not saying UGA is going to win but it will be close .

Chip Towers

September 1st, 2010
7:20 pm

Tigerden: I didn’t forget about Michael Dyer for Auburn. I gave him due consideration, as I did Jeff Whitaker and Trovon Reed and the other freshmen. After consulting with beat writer Phillip Marshall, I decided to with Reed because they need more help at position initially. . . .

kb: This blog led with Marcus Lattimore because it’s the third in a series about impact freshmen. The first two in the series were on Tech and Georgia, respectively. Lattimore was the No. 1 back in the South per Rivals — Dyer was by another service — and he plays in the first meaningful game Thursday night on national TV. And while he’s third string going into that game, my sources tell me he won’t be coming out of it. Make sense now? . . .

The General Feeling: JaWuan James was listed as freshman of impact for UT and I’m, touching on him again Thursday in Ten@10. . . . I agree, that’s quite a feat for an offensive lineman. And it’s a scary proposition for the Vols. . . .

naganole: It was a toss-up for me between FSU’s LaMarcus Joyner and Jeff Luc, both of whom are second-team at their respective positions heading into the opener. I just think overall Luc is going to have the greater impact. But Joyner has been the big surprise there. . . . Joyner’s teammate Cody Riggs also has been impressive and is going to play at Florida. . . .

I’m really surprised this blog didn’t generate more discussion. I thought for sure football fans would be coming out of the woodwork to talk about this subject. Oh well. More tomorrow, starting with the Ten@10. Point to any interesting items you run across that you think should be included.