Josh Kendall

Marcus Lattimore may be leading another turnaround in Columbia

We talk a lot about athletes, or former athletes, using their platform for impactful purposes off the field.

Marcus Lattimore may be showing us what that looks like. The former South Carolina and San Francisco 49ers running back has been in the news quite a lot this week. Heck, he’s hardly been out of the news since retiring from football because of the knee injury he suffered his junior season with the Gamecocks.

This week, Lattimore has expressed interest in becoming the executive director of the Richland County Recreation Commission, and he also had some interesting comments about LSU running back Leonard Fournette on the online sports radio show Go4It, which is based in Philadelphia.

First, we’ll talk about the football stuff. Go4It host Paul Gant asked Lattimore if he would advise Fournette to skip his final year of college football to avoid any possibility of the fate the awaited Lattimore.

“I would tell him to be as informed as possible and make, in this case, I’m telling him to be selfish,” Lattimore said. “Make the best decision for you. But him being a team guy, I highly doubt he would sit out a whole season and I wouldn’t either. I’m a team guy. He’s a team guy. It’s probably not going to happen, but I’m telling him as a friend, be selfish and make the decision for you.”

That’s not the rote, ex-jock answer of, “Never, man, it’s all about the team.” That’s an intelligent, thoughtful and honest answer. That’s the answer of a serious person who already is doing serious work in his community through the Marcus Lattimore Foundation.

As for Lattimore’s interest in a Richland County job, that’s another extension of his work helping the kids of the state of South Carolina and his new home in the Midlands. That’s not fun work. That’s work work. And it’s important work, and Lattimore probably would be good for it.

When Lattimore came to USC, he was the catalyst for turning around the Gamecocks program. He may be the catalyst for a lot more now.