South Carolina football fans haven’t seen their team play in the SEC Championship game since 2010. The SEC East champion Gamecocks fell to the eventual national championship-winning Auburn Tigers that season.
One of Carolina’s top performers in that game was true freshman running back Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore was an All-American by some publications that year (not just a Freshman All-American, but a big boy All-American), and he put up 120 yards of offense against the Tigers in the Gamecock loss.
On Saturday, Lattimore was back on the field for the SEC Championship Game (though, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium venue was different than the old Georgia Dome that he played in back in 2010).
Each season, the SEC honors an SEC Legend from each member institution and honors those players at the SEC Championship Game. South Carolina football’s 2023 honoree was none other than Lattimore, and the Gamecock great received a huge ovation as Lattimore and the rest of the 2023 class of SEC Legends were recognized in a pregame ceremony.
Other than Andre Smith (Alabama) and Knowshon Moreno (Georgia), Lattimore got the warmest reception from the Alabama and Georgia fans in attendance on Saturday, according to multiple people in attendance.
Several other messages read similarly to those, and it’s really no surprise.
During his South Carolina football career, Marcus Lattimore was a stud on the field, a classy guy off the field, and his story was a tragic one that fans across college football remember.
Two major knee injuries (the second one devastating enough to be career-ending) kept one of the country’s best talents off the field too much and robbed him of a professional career.
The 2nd-best running back in South Carolina football history (behind Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers), Lattimore is one of the most loved college football players in recent memory, and he got the type of ovation he deserved on Saturday.