University of South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore went through football drills at his school’s pro day Wednesday and received an unusual response from scouts: Applause.
Typical pro days include a bunch of NFL hopefuls showing off their skills in a controlled environment (i.e. no defenders to play against or pads to slow them down) in front of NFL scouts that use stopwatches and rulers to measure each player as a potential draft pick.
The case of Marcus Lattimore’s pro day was a different story.
The running back was a breakout star for the Gamecocks as a freshman in 2010. In his impressive sophomore season, he tore a knee ligament in his left knee cost him the rest of his season. In his comeback attempt this past season, Lattimore enjoyed more success on the field before tearing ligaments in his other knee in a horrific injury.
Knee injuries can often be a death sentence in professional sports, especially for running backs who need lateral movement, quick bursts of speed and changes of direction to succeed — all things that require two healthy knees.
Lattimore went through limited drills based on what his knee would allow him to do just five months removed from reconstructive surgery.
When he finished the drills, the room of scouts put down their stopwatches and clipboards and gave Lattimore a well-deserved ovation.
“It was crazy,” said Lattimore. “I did not expect that at all. Pretty much every scout came up to me and said that was amazing and inspiring.”
As the running back moves toward his goal of playing in the NFL despite the doubters and physical limitations, getting back out onto the field to take another step towards that dream is inspiring indeed.