Marcus Lattimore officially announced today that he will enter the 2013 NFL Draft, foregoing his final season of college eligibility. He held a news conference this afternoon to discuss his decision along with head coach Steve Spurrier and team physician Dr. Jeffrey Guy. Watch the full video and read their statements here.
After the news conference we asked Marcus a few questions to reflect on his time at Carolina and his appreciation for the fans.
BL: What is a favorite memory that will stick with you about your time at Carolina?
ML: One is easily when we came back from Florida [in 2010] and it was maybe 2:30 in the morning and the end zone of the stadium was almost full of fans. That amazed me. I was just a freshman that year and had never seen anything like that. Fans were out there waiting on us. That's what proved to me that we have the most loyal fans.
You knew coming to South Carolina was the right place for you, but did you ever expect this much fan support that you've gotten, both on the field and off?
No, not at all. It was surreal to me [after I got hurt]. I was watching Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football and heard them say, 'praying for Marcus.' Fans would even come to my house to say 'we're praying for you' or 'thank you for everything you've done'. Just everywhere I went in Columbia it has been nothing but sincere respect for me and that means a lot.
What will you miss the most about your time at Carolina?
Of course the love I got from here, but just my amazing teammates. I've made lifelong friends that will be at my wedding one day and I'll be at theirs one day. It's crazy that I found so many friends even outside of football and I will miss that the most - the student body and all my teammates.
You plan to stay involved and you're still a Gamecock for life; does it help to know you'll always be welcomed back with open arms?
No doubt. That's one thing I want to do anyway. When football is over for me I want to come back and help this university the way they helped me achieve my goals and put me in this position I'm in today.
What's one thing you want fans to know?
One thing I want fans to know is I got every letter, I got every card, and I'm working on reading all of them, especially from Gamecock Nation. I really, really appreciate them because it really got my spirits up.
Marcus Lattimore with his family after the news conference.