San Francisco’s all-time leading rusher (RB) Frank Gore has finally hit the 30-year milestone in his respected NFL career. The 49ers’ franchise back still remains as the proverbial heart to this dynamic west coast offense (currently has 9,539 rushing yards). Nevertheless, the coming of age strikes all of us (human beings) both physically and mentally. However, turning 30 didn’t significantly drop Gore’s rushing production in the last couple of years. Longevity can only go so far, when Gore is ready to push the “off” button on his engine, who is the next 49er candidate to take the helm?
Hailing from the “Palmetto” state of South Carolina, (RB) Marcus Lattimore was an exceptionally decorated high school football player. During his years as a Byrne’s high school rebel, he attained honors in the All-American department and was appointed the name as South Carolina’s “Mr. Football”. His high praise and glorified name transitioned himself into college, choosing the University of South Carolina over Alabama’s Auburn institution. As a South Carolina Gamecock, his accolades went up the roof, earning two All-SEC collegiate titles, second-team All-American, and two “Freshman of the Year” awards. In his three years playing college football, he averaged 4.8 yards a carry, rushed for a stunning total of 2,677 yards, and recorded an outstanding 38 touchdowns. The injury woes began in his sophomore year, where he suffered a torn left ACL to the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
As a senior, Lattimore returned to the field and contributed 662 rushing yards before sustaining his second major knee injury to the Tennessee Volunteers. Dislocating his knee in the process, simultaneously he also tore his three cardinal knee ligaments (ACL, MCL, and PCL). After the harrowing unfortunate event, people questioned if the high-octane runningback would ever return to the field. Despite his knee complications, Lattimore courageously entered the 2013 NFL Draft with high hopes. Indubitably, the 49ers drafted the talented rookie in the 4th round as the 131st overall pick. Lattimore then signed his first official NFL contract on May 31st, 2013. (4-year deal) Given his current physical status, the Niners placed him on the NFI (non-football injury) list; getting him one-hundred percent ready (mentally) and of course physically.
As of today, the South Carolina native has been showing great progression throughout his rehabilitation process; implicating the fact that his imminent return to the field as a pro-football player is definitely on schedule.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Lattimore voiced, “It would be important to have my mind ready for the next year, real excited about it”.
Can Lattimore reciprocate Gore’s power-running tenacity and patience?
We’ll have to find out next year.