Five years after Marcus Lattimore’s football career ended prematurely following a second catastrophic knee injury during his junior season, the South Carolina Gamecocks’ running back is returning to the program as a coach on Will Muschamp’s staff. Since retiring midway through his second NFL season without taking a snap, Lattimore has earned his degree, mentored high school athletes, ran football camps, provided support for injured student-athletes through his Marcus Lattimore/DREAMS Foundation and was an assistant high school football coach.
In November, Lattimore was named the varsity football head coach for the Heathwood Hall Episcopal School in Columbia, South Carolina. However, Lattimore has been adamant about not wanting to transition into coaching college football because of the immense time demands. In his current capacity, Lattimore will join the staff as the Gamecocks’ director of player development for life skills, per ESPN.
He will educate South Carolina’s players during their offseason Beyond Football program, which focuses on career development, addiction, financial responsibility and dating/relationships.
He’s scheduled to be officially introduced later this week.
“It is a pretty full-circle moment to be able to go back to my university and help them,” Lattimore told WACH Fox 57 in Columbia, South Carolina. “I’m really, really excited about it because I know the trajectory we are on as far as the football program goes.”
This is the second time Muschamp has attempted to bring Lattimore into the fold. Muschamp tried to hire Lattimore in 2016, but the NCAA barred South Carolina from utilizing him in an advisory role. Because his foundation provides financial support to student-athletes, his unofficial role on the Gamecocks would have been considered an unfair recruiting advantage. Lattimore’s new position will require him to cease running football camps around the state, but it there is still uncertainty there’s a possibility the Marcus Lattimore Foundation will continue operating.
Lattimore’s 2,677 rushing yards as a Gamecock places him sixth in program history, although he was on pace to climb into second behind 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers, and he remains the career leader in rushing touchdowns.
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