Marcus Lattimore would never stop being a Gamecocks for what he did on the field.
Now he’s contractually a Gamecock again, a director of player development.
“This is a home run for us,” Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp Friday in announcing Lattimore’s role with USC.
The All-American who saw his college career cut short by injury, an injury that robbed him of the chance to play professionally, came home. The NCAA hang-ups with his foundation were worked out, and he moves into a role he was close to filling a few years ago.
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And he was pleased to officially don Garnet and Black.
“It’s going to be amazing because I’m looking to set these guys up for life after,” Lattimore said.
Lattimore said one of the big things he wants to bring the perspective earned through his career. As a great high school and college player, he had to quickly come to terms with life as a non-athlete.
It’s something he wants to share with USC’s players and recruits.
“I empathize with every single player in that locker room,” Lattimore said. “It’s a tough grind that these guys go through.”
Gamecocks athletic director Ray Tanner reminisced and said he talked to Lattimore the day he left the West Coast after his NFL career wrapped up. Tanner knew football was over for him, and he tried to let Lattimore know he’d always have a place at USC if he needed it.
After they hung up the phone, Tanner thought he might have been a little selfish, so quickly trying to turn Lattimore toward a post-football life. On Friday, he was happy that place at USC was filled.
“You recruit great players and say they’re difference-makers,” Tanner said. “He’s a difference-maker off the field.”