Running back Marcus Lattimore plans to cut his extensive list to five schools by the end of summer but two schools – Georgia and Florida State – are going to stick around for awhile.
Lattimore, a 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back from Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes, recently visited with the Bulldogs and Seminoles and after those trips, he is confident those two programs will stay on his list. He also recently visited Clemson and Lattimore will be at LSU starting Friday.
Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, Penn State and Notre Dame are just some of the other schools that have offered Lattimore, rated by Rivals.com as the fourth-best player in the 2010 class. The only running back rated higher is Temple, Texas recruit Lache Seastrunk.
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"I never thought I'd have all these offers but my teammates, they're the ones that got me there," Lattimore said. "I thank them. I just sit back and think about it sometimes. I never think about how it feels but I really could go to any school.
"I'm going to have a top five by the end of the summer and I want to decide right after the season to see how all the teams do. I was going to (wait until) Signing Day but I want to do it right after my state game and then help other guys, help recruit for my team."
Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and running backs coach Dexter Carter have made a strong impression on Lattimore, who rushed for 2,303 yards and 30 touchdowns on 305 carries last season. Other things are playing in Florida State's favor as well.
"I like the offense, coach Fisher is a great offensive coordinator and he's got a great mind," Lattimore said. "Coach Carter is a great coach. I have a really good relationship with coach Carter. He knows what it takes to get to the NFL because he's been there. I love the people down there. I love Tallahassee. I had a great time when I went down there. It's a wonderful place."
At Georgia, the history of running backs has played a big role. Whether it's Knowshon Moreno, Garrison Hearst or dating back to Herschel Walker, Lattimore is intrigued by the success backs have had in Athens.
"They have a good tradition of running backs, Moreno is the latest, but there are a lot of them," Lattimore said. "That's a big football town. Everywhere I went downtown in Athens, they knew who I was. They even knew who my momma was. That was crazy. I love coach (Mark) Richt. My mom likes coach Richt a lot.
"They make you feel like they really want you. I was shocked that they really know me outside of my football jersey on and everything. It makes you feel good. They were like, 'Hey, we want you here.' I heard that about 10 times."
Things that stand out about Clemson are the coaches, the family atmosphere, the style of offense and his relationship with offensive coordinator Billy Napier. Proximity is also important since Clemson is only about an hour from Duncan.
"I love Clemson, just the coaches, just the family atmosphere, I love the offense," Lattimore said. "I know the offensive coordinator. I have a good relationship with him. It's not that far, too. It's like 15,000 people in the town but 90,000 come to the game. It would be crazy. Clemson is a good place."
Lattimore is also pumped about this upcoming trip to LSU. He said the Tigers have been "a favorite of mine" ever since he stayed in the same hotel when LSU faced Miami in the Peach Bowl in 2005.
"I'm really excited about this one," Lattimore said. "I saw them when they played Miami in the Peach Bowl and I was staying in the same hotel. They were huge, I'll never forget that. I never, ever thought about LSU but I've been watching them, coach (Les) Miles is a great coach. I want to go back to a game. They run a good offense and they have great academics."