The San Francisco 49ers drafted Marcus Lattimore, but the former Gamecocks star running back still is making appearances back home.
Lattimore recently came back to Williams-Brice Stadium to film a “public service announcement” for the S.C. Education Lottery’s “Play Responsibly” ad campaign.
The S.C. Education Lottery paid Lattimore $20,000 to appear in one 30-second and one 15-second television commercial, according to S.C. Lottery officials. The ads will air for a year.
“We put a lot of our marketing toward people playing responsibly, to play just for fun,” said Paula Harper Bethea, director of the S.C. Education Lottery, which pays for education programs including college scholarships.
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“Who in South Carolina is more recognizable or more respected than Marcus Lattimore?” Bethea asked, explaining why the lottery hired Lattimore to do the commercials.
Lattimore is the first celebrity to appear in the “Play Responsibly” commercials.
Professional wrestler Ric Flair and television game show personalities Vanna White and Pat Sajak previously have appeared in other lottery commercials, Bethea said.
The ad features a montage of Lattimore clips with a voiceover from Bethea saying, “As a Gamecock, Marcus Lattimore gained more than 2,000 yards, scored 38 touchdowns and rarely turned the ball over.”
The commercial cuts to Bethea and Lattimore standing in the stadium, where she asks him how he did it.
Lattimore, cradling a football, says, “I protected what was most important. You’d probably say I play responsibly.”
“I would,” Bethea answers, “the same way I urge our players to play our games. Remember, winning means keeping your priorities straight, so have fun, stay in bounds and always play responsibly.”
“He has such a huge impact, and if he can help one person play responsibly, it is worth it to us,” Bethea said of the commercial. “He’s a class act.”
Lattimore was SEC freshman of the year in 2010. A Heisman Trophy candidate in 2011, Lattimore’s second and third seasons were cut short by knee injuries.
Lattimore broke school records for career touchdowns — 41 — and rushing touchdowns — 38 — as he racked up numerous other accolades. He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers as the 131st pick in the NFL draft.
The lottery spot is not Lattimore’s first gig as a celebrity spokesman in South Carolina.
Lattimore also is working with Charleston’s First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina to encourage 17-to-21-year-olds to take advantage of wellness visits. This week, more than 7,500 First Choice members will receive a personalized telephone message from Lattimore on the importance of the wellness visits.