When it comes to the elite prospects in the Class of 2010, running back Marcus Lattimore is near the top of this exclusive list. Lattimore, 5 feet 11 and 210 pounds, had a monster junior season, rushing the ball 303 times for 2,325 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also caught 33 passes for 426 yards and two scores. Lattimore rushed for 1,879 yards as a sophomore and had 67 career touchdowns. He's a versatile running back that can virtually do it all.
"Everyone always asks running backs what they do best and we all say something a little different," Lattimore said. "But the bottom line is that we all just run and do it a little differently. For me, I break tackles and get stronger as the game goes on. I have great vision, good speed, and good acceleration in the hole."
Lattimore is the type of back that could fit into any style of offense. What one particular offense is he most looking for in a college football program?
"From the football aspect I want to play in pro-style offense and I want to be prepared for the NFL. At the same time I want to be surrounded with great players. I just rather play in a pro-style offense."
According to Lattimore he has 22 offers. Right now he claims no early favorites but says a dozen or so schools are on his short list.
"LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn. Tennessee, North Carolina, FSU, South Carolina, Clemson, Maryland, Duke and Michigan are some of the schools you could say I like. I know that I will do what's best for me but it's a lot a pressure for me to stay in state. Everyone's always like 'come be a Tiger' or 'come be a Gamecock.'. I like both (in-state) schools as well as many others."
Lattimore also plays with some very talented teammates that are very highly recruited like defensive linemen Brandon Willis and Corey Miller.
"I would love to play with Brandon and Corey. We have talked about it but at the end of day we all have to do what's best for us. If we all like same school it would be great and a big plus."
So far this spring Lattimore has attended junior days at Florida State, South Carolina and Clemson and last weekend he made an unofficial visit to Tennessee.
"The academics thing is kind of hurting FSU with me but I want to see how things pan out. I need to figure out what's going on. But I do like them and the coaches.
"I had good time at South Carolina. I met with the coaches and had a good talk with coach (Steve) Spurrier. It was a good weekend.
"I met with all the coaches at Clemson and coach Powell was even waiting for me in their parking lot. I also had a good one on one talk with coach (Dabo) Swinney.
"The Tennessee unofficial was great. I met the legend, Monte Kiffin. H's real cool and he has got a lot of energy. I couldn't believe I was talking with him. He won a Super Bowl. I also met coach (Eddie) Gran. He has four first-rounders in the NFL and 10 overall. He knows what it takes to get to the NFL. I like coach (Jim) Chaney and he knows what he's talking about in running an offense. Coach (Lane) Kiffin was so cool. He's young, funny and energetic. I really liked them a lot. I know most don't like him now but he's a cool coach."
Lattimore says he's a long ways away from a decision. He kind of has a working plan in coming up with his school destination.
"It will probably be a Signing Day decision. I would like to make one visit during the season and four after. I would like to narrow it down to six schools or so by the beginning of the season."
Lattimore was supposed to go to Georgia on March 21st but won't be able to make his trip because of a weight lifting tournament. He's going to North Carolina on March 28th and the spring games at South Carolina (April 11th) and LSU (April 18th). Lattimore is also planning on camping at Georgia this summer.