During his first couple of days in Columbia, South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore felt major pangs of homesickness.
Almost two months later, the freshman from Duncan is certain he is in the right place.
“Now, I feel good. This is where I belong,” said Lattimore, who chose the Gamecocks over numerous top Division I programs. “It feels real good to have all this support from the fans.”
Friday morning, Lattimore was among a dozen Gamecocks players participating in the Pigskin Poets program at the downtown branch of the Richland County Public Library. Along with Dylan Thompson, Toquavius Gilchrist and several other members of USC’s newest recruiting class, Lattimore read, sang and signed autographs for over 100 kids.
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“I love doing this for the kids, it’s a great part of being a college player,” said sophomore Spur linebacker Damario Jeffery.
The Friday morning event was a brief pause from the Gamecocks’ quest for success in 2010.
“Part of what we needed, we had to add depth, and that’s what we did. And now we are working to make sure that we use it right,” Jeffery said.
Gilchrist, a sophomore linebacker from Abbeville, said his first months with the team have been productive.
“In the spring and from the start of the summer, we’ve built a great tradition and team with the new guys. We’re coming together good,” he said. “I came in and worked hard and I’m really looking forward to contributing to my team.”
Lattimore and his fellow freshmen arrived in Columbia in time to celebrate the Gamecock baseball team’s national championship. The experience was inspiring.
“When we think about how the fans reacted to that, we just know if we win one they will go crazy,” Lattimore said. “We want to experience the same thing (winning a national title). We’re going to experience it.”
He believes that is within the realm of possibility.
Though he is the big fish of the Gamecocks’ incoming class, Lattimore said he feels “no pressure at all.”
“I’ve got a great offensive line, and we’re going to do well this year,” Lattimore said. “We can win an SEC championship. I truly believe that.”
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Pigskin Poets 2010