Home » blog » Marcus Lattimore…Class Act!!

Posted by on May 14th, 2012 in blog, CFF Features, Jeff Siverhus | 3 Comments

 

Below are excerpts from a recent TheBigSpur.com article on Marcus Lattimore.

 

For what it’s worth, this young man is a class act. He exemplifies everything you would want from a teammate and a person. I have had the pleasure to speak to his coaches at Byrnes High School, and they say he was one of the hardest working guys to ever come through their program. For those that aren’t familiar with Byrnes football, that is quit a statement. Byrnes has won the 4-A State Championship in South Carolina eight times since 2000. So they have had their share of great players and can certainly speak to excellence.

 

I will date myself with this statement, but he reminds me of some no nonsense backs from a different era; such as Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker and George Rogers.

 

Let’s hope Marcus has a great year (minus one particular game against my dawgs).

 

 

Talk to me about how recovery from the injury has been going? Where does Marcus’s recovery stand at now?

Yolanda: “Everything has gone very well; both mentally and physically he is very healthy. I am very comfortable with how things have gone. Marcus himself didn’t voice his opinion very much during the whole process unless he felt that something was wrong. He took everything in stride. He is well ahead of where everyone thought he would be at this point.”

Talk to me about what it was like when the injury first happened for both Marcus and for you?

Yolanda: “As a family it was hard on us. Marcus is the baby and that is how we all look at him. If he is hurt, I don’t care what part of his body it is, it could be his finger and everyone would be scared. When he went down at Mississippi State the entire family just went into that mode of “lets make it right, lets make him feel better.” Right after his injury I went into a zone where all I could think about was making sure he was ok and that he was being taken care of. As much as Marcus could come home during the ordeal he did and all I wanted to do was mother him and be there for him.”

“When he went down I just get thinking, “get up Marcus! Get up!” I was scared to go near him. I stood there frozen until the training staff got him up and started carrying him off the field. I ran down the stands and up to the gate to get onto the field. The guard there wasn’t paying attention; he was looking at the field and what was going on. I opened the gate and that was when he noticed me and said, “Ma’am you can’t come in here.” And I just looked at him and said “that is my son!”

“I don’t really remember what happened next, but somehow I was past him. As soon as I got near Marcus nobody else said anything else to me. I had tunnel vision – I just wanted him to know I was there.”

“Immediately after the injury I didn’t even know whether the team won or lost the game. The only thing that mattered to me was that my son was ok. When he got hurt, all of the boys (his teammates) saw how upset I was and came to me. They put their hands on him and on me and immediately started praying. I knew when that happened – when we were surrounded by people praying for us – that everything was going to be alright. It was a rough day…”

“Marcus was sad, but he knew there was a reason it happened. Dylan Thompson’s mom was the first one to make it to the hospital in Columbia when Marcus arrived and he told her, “Mrs. Tammy I am fine. This is all in God’s plan and I know this happened for a reason.”

 

“Marcus says he has no doubt that everything that happened – from Garcia getting dismissed, to him getting hurt – all happened in order to raise the team up and show that it is not one person that makes up a team. He knew that it was so everyone’s contributions could be seen as equally important. He honestly feels that is why he was taken out of the game and why the team was able to rally like they did.”

“One time – in the middle of everything that was going on – I sat down with him and asked him a question. I said, “If we had money, if we were well off financially, would you still want to play football so badly? Would you still want to go through this?” He just looked at me for a second and said, “Yes, because I love it. It isn’t about the money I can make in the future, it is about the fact that I love the game.”

“Part of me always wondered if he was just doing this for his family so I needed to know that wasn’t the reason. I needed to know that he didn’t put himself through all of that because he felt that was the only way to take care of his family.”

What were those first few days like after the injury? What were attitudes like?

Yolanda: “Honestly, until I asked him that question about why he wants to play, my gut reaction was that he should stop. I felt that he shouldn’t play football anymore. I didn’t think my heart could handle it. Once he told me why he plays- once he explained to me that he wants me to like it as much as he does – I knew I couldn’t make him stop. It is a part of who he is.”

“Marcus sort of kept me in the dark about how he felt for a while after the injury because he didn’t want me to worry. He would tell a coach or tell Vernon when he was in pain but he just put on a tough face for me. He told me stories of other people who had the injury and came back better than they were before and I knew he wasn’t lying to me because Marcus knows I can use Google and I will find out! He has always tried to put on a brave face to comfort me.”

Vernon: “Right after the injury I think he was kind of scared. Over time though he started to become more encouraged than anything. He saw the opportunity to come back and be the guy who could teach other people that injuries and accidents can happen to you, but you can come back stronger. He realized he could be a positive example.”

“Marcus is the type of player that is really big on “team”. He would rather put other people in front of him. If someone has a good block in a game that allows him to break a long run he always make sure to give them credit. It’s not about him; it’s about the team.”

 

“The very next day after he was injured he was in the weight room. His leg being hurt didn’t stop him. We were more worried about him being mentally more than physically because we knew physically he can handle just about anything. It wasn’t until he sat us down and explained to us that he was fine that we started to actually feel comfortable about the situation. We know the type of person he is; one that wants to take care of his team.”

“Marcus looked at the injury differently than most people would I believe. As Christians in life it is our perception of a situation that determines how good or bad it actually is. God never takes away the thorn, he just changes how you look at the thorn. Marcus looked at this as an opportunity to come back and be a better player in the future; he saw an opportunity to help people and that got him excited. Brandon Wilds’ dad told me that the night Marcus was injured he sent Brandon a text that said; “Show the world what you’ve got, the ball is in your hands now.”

“Honestly I was worried more about my wife than anything. When stuff happens to Marcus, when he is down, I try to be a calming force so she can catch that feeling. When she went down on the field after he was hurt it looked a little different from my point of view than she remembers. I saw her bull-rush through the guard at the gate. I came down to make sure she wasn’t going to get arrested! You can’t measure how someone feels about their child, it is their child.”

 

When many people face such extreme adversity they seem to get down and out, but Marcus has thrived and become stronger. Why? How?

Yolanda: “Because it is about more than football. I think he has always wanted to show everyone that playing football is not all he is. I remember he came home to Duncan one day and went up to the Byrnes campus to workout. There was a young guy in the weight room and Marcus heard he was having a hard time in algebra class. Next thing you know Marcus has invited him over to tutor him. There were a few things that Vernon had to help with to refresh Marcus’s memory, but Marcus was able to help this little boy.”

“When most people see an athlete they see only that; an athlete. People with Marcus though…they tend to see his heart too. They see that he is a genuinely good person. That is why no matter what happens to him on the field nobody has ever wondered if he will be ok. Marcus is a student, a son, a brother, an uncle, and a friend – not just a football player. He does the right thing all the time, not just when people are looking.”

“When adversity strikes the hardest Marcus is at his best.”

Vernon: “All I can do sometimes is sit back in awe.”

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 To read article in it’s entirety click here.

3 Comments

3 Comments for this entry

  1. Kevin says:

    PS

    The reason I said DIV 1 was because they are who get all of the hype. There are lots of kids at lower division football that play because they love the game, not the spotlight!

  2. Kevin says:

    I read this yesterday. Yes he is different than almost any DIV 1 player I have seen in a long time. You are right the older guys just seemed to get it. That it is more about team than themselves. There is no doubt he has been the spark that has got things going in the right direction at South Carolina. I hope that when he is gone there is someone to carry that same torch. Coaches can only do so much. It takes players to be true leaders for a team to be good.

    Thanks for sharing!! See ya soon!!

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