Marcus Lattimore is coming home.
“It’s the first step,” Lattimore said. “I plan to finish up school and most likely be done with it next January (2016).”
Lattimore will enroll for South Carolina’s spring semester in January and begin completing his degree in public health. He’ll also take a position as an ambassador for the school and its football program, although an official title has yet to be bestowed.
“There’s been some back-and-forth,” he said. “I’ll most likely work with the university, coach (Ray) Tanner, president (Harris) Pastides, coach (Steve) Spurrier, whatever they need me to do. No official title that we have talked about yet, but we’re trying to get something nailed down.”
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Whatever he ends up doing, one of the Gamecocks’ most beloved players will be back on campus. USC’s career leader in touchdowns tried to return from the gruesome knee injury that ended his college career, but realized after two years that football wasn’t going to be his future.
Lattimore announced his retirement from the NFL on Nov. 5 and has spent his time moving home, setting up his school plans and giving back to the community. The holidays offered a chance to share his story and help those in need, and Lattimore cheerfully did so.
He prepared Thanksgiving dinner for 400 people in Jasper County. He built a playground for a Spartanburg community center. He took 10 children in Blackville to Wal-Mart for a shopping spree. And he wants to do more.
USC opened its arms to Lattimore, inviting him back to study, work or any other activity that he would like. Lattimore will work with the school in some role, but most likely will not venture into coaching – he’s keeping an eye on being around football in the future, but probably as an athletic trainer.
“I told him he’s got a home back here in Columbia, the University of South Carolina, and he knows that,” Spurrier said when Lattimore retired. “He’s a wonderful young man and he’s coming back, hopefully soon, and maybe he can add a lot of inspiration to South Carolina like he did when he was a player here.”