CFB National Championship could learn a lot from the Super Bowl

Three days ago, Super Bowl XVIX broke its own record of 112.2 million viewers, that was set during last year’s game, with 114.5 million TV sets tuned into the event. Although there are many variables that factor into those numbers, there is one particular quality that allows millions of people across the nation to tune into the NFL’s biggest stage.

The game takes place at a reasonable time.

6:30 on a Sunday evening might as well be dead time in American culture. The majority of the populace is relaxing, probably watching TV to begin with, so they might as well flip over to the big game. Even further, with the majority of U.S. citizens having weekends off, the planning and preparation for gatherings and social events culminating around the Super Bowl is possible.

When it comes to the College Football National Championship, that isn’t the case. Unless you’re a college student, a night owl,a retiree, or a fan of either of the participating teams, an 8:30 kick off on a Monday night isn’t even close to ideal.

If you throw in all of the commercials, ceremonies, and ESPN coverage that come with it, the biggest stage in college football could yield a three to four hour performance. For the average worker, the fatigue resulting from five hours of sleep is not worth experiencing a college football game. This is especially true in a generation where highlights and replays are ever abundant for fans to catch up on missed details. However, the working class isn’t the only group of people being plagued by the Monday night start time.

Although the National Championship seems to be moving later and later into the month of January, college classes aren’t. At Ohio State, students were prohibited from missing class that Monday to watch the National Championship. The punishment? Removal from any class that had been skipped. That sort of situation is a big part of what makes the monday night start time such an injustice. No student should have to be punished for cheering on the school that they attend, nor should an administration be put in the position where they feel like they have to take such measures to keep students in class. Having students in the crowd is essential to the College Gameday experience and limiting them with a Monday night start time isn’t just unfair to the students, it’s unfair to the game of college football as a whole.

How hard would it be to play the game on a Saturday? It is the designated day for the majority of college football games and the day carries an aura of college football with it. The Super Bowl is on Sunday, just like the majority of NFL games. It would only make logical sense to have the CFB National Championship on Saturday. It is what’s best for the players and fans alike.

The College Football Playoff was a big win for the game, now let’s get a big win for the fans. Move the game to Saturday. That way, we all can watch.

 

National Signing Day Preview Part 2: Current Commitments

With college football’s national signing day just one week away, we now take a look at the Gamecocks’ current recruiting class and the targets left on the board. South Carolina currently has 28 committed prospects in this class, with seven of those commits already enrolled as early enrollees. In part 2 of our national signing day preview, we take a look at the 21 committed prospects that will be signing with the Gamecocks on national signing day.

Commitments:

DE Shameik Blackshear (6-5/240) – South Carolina needs major help on the defensive line next season, and Blackshear, a four star defensive end, can provide that help. Blackshear has been committed to the Gamecocks since May and is considered to be a freak athlete. Depending on how he recovers from his torn ACL, Blackshear should compete for a spot in the two deep during fall practice.

ATH Jalen Christian (5-10/165) – Four star athlete Jalen Christian has been committed to the Gamecocks since May and will likely play wide receiver in college. What makes Christian special is his speed and quickness, even drawing some comparisons to Ace Sanders.

OG Zack Bailey (6-5/315) – Four star offensive guard Zack Bailey is one of South Carolina’s top offensive lineman committed for this class. He has a nice frame and size for an offensive guard and could be a good one for the Gamecocks in a couple years. Bailey was one of five finalists for the Mr. Football Award in South Carolina.

OT Christian Pellage (6-7/282) – With not many offensive tackles returning next year for the Gamecocks, four star offensive tackle Christian Pellage is an important recruit for this class. Pellage will need to learn the offensive system quick as he will most likely play some role on the offensive line next season.

ATH Octavis Johnson (6-1/181) – Four star athlete Octavis Johnson has had a very quiet recruiting process since committing to the Gamecocks in June. Johnson will most likely play safety during his college career.

JUCO DE Dante Sawyer (6-2.5/262) – Four star defensive end Dante Sawyer was originally committed to the Gamecocks 2014 recruiting class, but needed to go the junior college route to correct some academic issues. Sawyer is physically ready to play in the SEC and will compete for a starting defensive end spot during fall practice.

QB Lorenzo Nunez (6-2.5/190) – The quarterback for this recruiting class, Nunez holds a four star rating and has dual threat ability. Nunez will need to add some weight before he’s ready to play quarterback in the SEC, but some seem to believe he has an outside shot to play next year for the Gamecocks.

RB AJ Turner (5-11/180) – Three star running back AJ Turner has had coaches all over him recently, trying to persuade him to flip from the Gamecocks, but those efforts were meaningless as he remained true to his commitment. Turner had offers from schools all over the country, with Oregon being the school hardest on him about flipping his commitment.

WR Dexter Neal (6-2/195) – Three star wide receiver Dexter Neal has given different percentages on his commitment to the Gamecocks throughout the process, but is now 100% to the Gamecocks. Neal is another great athlete in this class that will also have a chance to play baseball for South Carolina.

RB Mon Denson (5-11/214) – Three star running back Mon Denson appears to have great potential at running back and can really pack a punch. Denson is a hard, powerful runner that also adds a bit of sneaky quickness to his game. Denson and Turner could be a great package at running back in a couple years.

S Antoine Wilder (5-11/175) – Early in the process, the Gamecocks were able to get in on the recruitment of Wilder because of his friendship with former commit Arden Key. The Gamecocks were able to secure the three star commitment and solid future safety. Wilder is known for being a hard hitter and having a nose for the ball.

LB Daniel Fennell (6-2/220) – Three star linebacker Daniel Fennell is another member of the solid linebacker class being brought in. Fennell possesses a nose for the ball and good tackling skills.

DE Quandeski Whitlow (6-3/221) – The Gamecocks staff have been doing a lot of work in recent weeks to hold off other teams for three star defensive end Quandeski Whitlow’s commitment. Some believe that Whitlow has only scratched the surface on his talent and has a higher ceiling than a lot of prospects.

DB Damon Arnette (6-2/185) – Another player that has seen his recruitment heat up in recent weeks is three star defensive back Damon Arnette. Arnette has been committed to the Gamecocks since July, but Michigan and Ohio State have been working him hard. Arnette’s recruitment could go all the way to national signing day.

JUCO S Toure Boyd (6-1/195) – One of the latest commitments in this class, four star safety Toure Boyd is starting to draw some real attention from fans. Boyd has been compared to the Gamecocks former hard hitting safety DJ Swearinger and that praise is legitimate. Boyd will likely be competitive for a starting safety spot next season for the Gamecocks.

OT Blake Camper (6-7/280) – The Gamecocks were recently able to flip three star offensive tackle commit Blake Camper from Rutgers. Camper has a nice frame, but will likely need time to add some good weight to his frame before he is ready to contribute. But with the Gamecocks offensive tackle situation next season in question, he may be forced into action.

TE Kyle Markway (6-4/240) – Three star tight end Kyle Markway has been committed to the Gamecocks since May and has not wavered in his commitment. Markway possesses nice size and has been told to prepare to play next season with question marks surrounding the Gamecocks tight end depth chart.

TE Connor Redmond (6-4/225) – The other tight end commitment in this class is three star Connor Redmond. Like the other tight end commit, Kyle Markway, Redmond has been told to prepare to play next season as the freshman tight ends could play a role in some capacity.

P Joseph Charlton (6-4/180) – Ranked as the second best punter in the nation, three star punter Joseph Charlton chose to commit to the Gamecocks. Charlton has a very strong leg and will likely be very competitive for the punting job next season.

JUCO DE Devante Covington (6-4/240) – Someone that not many Gamecock fans have heard of is recent three star defensive end commit Devante Covington. Covington originally signed with the Gamecocks in the 2013 recruiting class, but needed to correct some academic issues before being able to play at South Carolina.

JUCO DE Ulric Jones (6-6.5/283) – Junior college three star defensive end commit Ulric Jones has actually already signed with the Gamecocks, but is not yet on campus. Jones just needs to finish up some classes in the spring semester and will enroll for summer workouts. Jones is a bid bodied player and is likely a long term defensive tackle for the Gamecocks.

National Signing Day Preview Part 1: Early Enrollees

With college football’s national signing day just under two weeks away, we now take a look at the Gamecocks’ current recruiting class and the targets left on the board. South Carolina currently has 28 committed prospects in this class, with seven of those commits already enrolled as early enrollees. In part 1 of our national signing day preview, we take a look at the early enrollees for the Gamecocks in this year’s recruiting class.

Early Enrollees:

JUCO DE Marquavius Lewis (6-4/271) – Lewis holds a high four star rating and has definitely earned that rating as one of the top recruits in this year’s class. He is the No. 1 nationally ranked JUCO defensive end and will provide immediate help on the defensive line next season.

PREP DE Dexter Wideman (6-4/260) – Another major piece to this year’s class is four star defensive end Dexter Wideman. Wideman originally committed to South Carolina in 2014 on national signing day, flipping from Florida State, but needed some time at a PREP school to correct some academic issues. Now that he is enrolled, Wideman will work next year at defensive end for the Gamecocks, but is most likely a long term defensive tackle.

LB Sherrod Pittman (6-1/224) – Once a four star linebacker from Florida, Pittman broke his leg during his high school season this past year and dropped to a three star. But he is most likely an underrated prospect as he is a stud athlete that was invited to Nike’s “The Opening” camp this past summer.

WR Christian Owens (6-5/207) – For most of the process, Owens, a three star wide receiver, was committed to Georgia, but recently flipped his commitment to the Gamecocks after uncertainty with being able to enroll early at UGA. Owens has a big body for a wide receiver and will most likely move to tight end as his frame builds out.

LB Jalen Henry (6-0/219) – Henry has been committed to the Gamecocks for months now and was solid with his commitment throughout the process. He is a three star prospect from Alabama and has great potential, but is undersized at this point and will need to add some weight before being able to contribute.

JUCO LB Ernest Hawkins (6-2/225) – One of the most recent commits for the class, Hawkins is a three star junior college linebacker that will look to provide solid depth to an already experienced linebacker core for the Gamecocks.

WR Jerad Washington (5-9/165) – Washington has been committed to the Gamecocks since July and holds a three star rating. He is actually one of two First Coast High School football commits in this class including linebacker Sherrod Pittman.

 

The USC student section is a convenient scapegoat

As Alabama’s last shot attempt clanked off the rim and the final seconds melted off the clock, the fans that were there went wild in Colonial Life Arena, celebrating their team’s first conference win of the season.

Now, rewind the clock back 10 minutes. Half of the students that had packed their corner of the arena had exited the building. Alabama was slowly chipping away at a lead that had once been fifteen points and the men’s basketball team needed its fans more than ever.

Where were the students?

They probably didn’t care enough to stay. They have no loyalty to the team, to the school, or to their fellow students who are working so hard on the court. They’d probably rather be in five points.

These are the kinds of conclusions that Gamecock fans so readily spout out at the sight of students leaving a game early. Although it is understood that this is a problem, it is not solely a student problem. It is a problem that permeates the entire South Carolina fan base and the students have been used as a convenient scapegoat for far too long.

Around 15 players stayed on the field for the Alma Mater after Saturday's loss.At the beginning of Tuesday’s home game against Alabama the student section was packed. The students had filled their respective seats for a 9 o’clock game to watch a team that looked like it may have been on its way to another losing SEC season. And that loyalty stopped with the students. There was a sea of garnet beyond the student section… A sea of garnet empty chairs. There were entire rows of empty seats and the upper deck may as well not even exist because those “loyal fans” that constantly look down upon the student body are never loyal enough to fill them.

And it isn’t just basketball.

There was not a soul, anywhere in the stadium, for the home football games against South Alabama and Furman. Fans of all ages skipped out on the game, yet the only fans that continually get pounded for lack of loyalty are the students.

These other, and far more superior, Gamecock “fans” are the same ones that actually have the money to travel to a bowl game. ESPN panned out to the crowd only once because of how dismal the fan turnout was.

Yes, the students should be the most energized part of the fan base. And the sad part about our fan base, is that it is. No one in Williams-Brice stands the entire game except the student section. No one starts the wave, jumps up and down to Sandstorm as an entire body, ignites chants, or yells on every opponent’s offensive possessions. And when the students leave early, the energy goes out of the crowd. Maybe that’s why they are the scapegoat. When they’re gone, the crowd presence at South Carolina athletic events is abysmal.

There remains to be seen a crowd in college athletics that sits down with their arms crossed more than South Carolina fans. So maybe, students leaving early is just a manifestation of an overwhelming problem in an entire fan base. Maybe, all Gamecock fans should look introspectively and wonder if they’ve done everything in their power to vitalize this fan base. If a fan can honestly say they have, then they can place judgment on the student section.

Otherwise, keep your mouth shut and just watch the game. It’s what South Carolina fans are good at.

Was the Risk Worth the Reward: Should Deshaun Watson Have Played?

First and foremost, it’s important to set the record straight.

Clemson manhandled South Carolina this past Saturday. There may be some sore losers in Columbia, but the majority of Gamecocks fans on radio shows and message boards have come to the conclusion that while five years in a row was fun, there really is no way around what happened in Clemson this past weekend. South Carolina was dominated in every facet of the game.

With that being said, there is still the question that has been talked about all around the Palmetto State since Dabo Swinney’s press conference after the game in which he broke the news that phenom freshman Deshaun Watson played the game with a torn ACL.

That’s right. Things were a little more serious than a ligament strain and a bone bruise. Watson partially tore his ACL at practice the Thursday before the Tigers’ game against Georgia State. This is the same injury that most athletes immediately have surgery for and begin to rehab as soon as possible.

So it begs the question: did Dabo do the right thing in allowing his freshman quarterback, who is likely to be the face of the team for at least the next two years, play in a game that in all actuality meant nothing.

Obviously every game means something. In the case of last Saturday, Clemson fans, players and coaches were tried of getting “high fived” and would have likely done anything in order to break the streak. It’s clear that Dabo was under pressure and wanted to relate that to his team (see the countdown clock that has been in the Clemson locker room for months).

But is all that worth risking further damage to the knee of the player that could take Clemson to the next level and beyond? Saturday’s game, other than bragging rights, meant nothing in the large scheme of things. It had nothing to do with conference standings, playoff implications or even bowl placement. Either Florida State or Georgia Tech were already likely headed to the Orange Bowl, leaving Clemson headed possibly to the Russel Athletic Bowl in Orlando no matter the outcome of their game against the Gamecocks.

Obviously to Dabo Swinney and his coaches, the game was obviously important enough to risk the health of Watson. Yes he was cleared by doctors and he and coaches were told that there would likely be no further damage to the knee if he played. But that doesn’t make it right.

It’s clear that Watson gave Clemson their best chance to win. The Tiger’s offense looked like a completely different unit with him at the helm. With all due respect to Cole Stoudt, this has been Watson’s team since he almost pulled off the huge upset in Tallahassee.

But would playing Stoudt Saturday, even if that would have led to a loss, been the worst thing for Clemson? Watson could have already had surgery and almost 100%, by that time, been ready for next season. Yet by risking his health for the immediate gain, Clemson now has pushed his surgery back until possibly after the bowl game, further delaying the rehab time and Watson’s possible return for next season. Was beating South Carolina to finish the season 9-3 instead of 8-4 important enough to risk the outcome of the next few seasons?

College football is a game of high risk, high reward and Clemson came away with that reward Saturday. Although the majority of Clemson fans may think twice about Swinney’s decision to play Watson, all of them are ecstatic that the streak came to an end. But how would they have felt had Watson injured his knee further?

Whether Watson plays in the bowl game remains to be seen. But the question still lingers, although now in different circumstances. Is the outcome of a mid-tier bowl game really worth the health of your most promising player? Probably not.

Did Clemson do South Carolina a Favor?

After three straight 11-win seasons and top 10 finishes, 2014 seems like a nightmare for Gamecock fans. The season that began with an embarrassing loss to Texas A&M at the end of August finished in much the same fashion in the upstate Saturday. After Dylan Thompson’s fumble that Clemson turned into a touchdown early, there was never really a point in the game where South Carolina regained the momentum. It was all downhill and it was a familiar story to the season that could have been for the Gamecocks.

Yet as the field at Memorial Stadium was covered in orange and purple fans and all those in garnet and black forgot about having to figure out how to do a “high six”, South Carolina was forced to face the honest truth that many have tried to spin into something positive since that opening loss: this football team has a lot of issues that must be addressed before they can return to winning 11 games. They simply were not good.

If South Carolina had punched it in after having the ball first and goal at the 2-yard line or figured out how to stop the jet sweep or simply just found a way to win the game, South Carolina would have been given a false sense of hope going into a bowl game and the offseason.

To set something straight, it is never better to lose a game than to win. You will never find a South Carolina player, coach or fan that is happy that the five game winning streak came to an end and that the upstate fans will now have bragging rights for 365 days.

But if South Carolina had pulled off the upset Saturday, the hard truth of how bad this team was and how hard they are going to have to work would not be staring at them straight in the face. They would be able to ride that high of once again beating their in-state foe into a false reality of being a good team, which is simply not the case.

For the first time since 2008, Clemson simply looked more talented, better coached and more motivated to win. South Carolina defenders could not tackle (as they haven’t been able to all year), could not get off of blocks (as they haven’t been able to all year), and couldn’t make the big play when they needed to (which they haven’t been able to do all year).

Offensively, Dylan Thompson never looked comfortable, overthrowing multiple receivers and trying to force situations. Gamecock receivers were able to make some plays, but their perimeter blocking was awful, allowing Clemson to sniff out any sort of boundary play. And the offensive line was manhandled by the Tiger defensive front, consistently putting pressure on Thompson and not allowing anything to get going on the ground.

Multiple losses this season could have been blamed on the defense, yet Saturday’s was a total team effort. And for as good as a win would have felt for players and fans alike, maybe Clemson did South Carolina a favor.

The lack of fundamentals, playmaking and leadership were front and center for a national audience. Yes, Clemson played very well and deserved to win the football game. But at times South Carolina seemed to make it easy for them, not fighting to get off blocks and not really seeming to want it more.

For South Carolina fans, that may be the most disheartening thing of all. From game 1 to game 12, the same issues were there and not corrected. Whether that falls directly on coaching or on the players is up for debate, but there seemed to be absolutely no adjustments at all throughout the season. There was never a player that stepped up as a true leader on the defensive side of the ball and there were the same fundamental issues seen all year long.

It remains to be seen if the entire coaching staff will be back for 2015. But if South Carolina wants to get back to its competitive form, something has to give. A leader has to be found, the defense has to play fundamentally sound and the team will have to get back to playing like they are always behind. And while it is never fun to lose to your rival, Saturday was the perfect example of what was wrong with the 2014 Gamecocks.

TigerNet Weekly Roundup: Rivalry Week Edition

 

 

 

With Rivalry Week in full swing, the boards of TigerNet.com have come alive with talk of the upcoming grudge match between Clemson and South Carolina. The site leaves behind  a wake of obliviousness and Dabo-inspired dream chasing and we here at Garnet Report are dedicated to delivering the best and most ridiculous of them to all of our fans.

With no further ado, here is this week’s TigerNet Weekly Round Up: Rivalry Week Edition.

TNet1

For Clemson, living in the past is a lot better than watching Cole Stoudt play quarterback.

TNet2

This is a joke in and of itself…

TNet3

If you want to talk about common, try being the fifth team in FBS with the mascot “Tigers”, the second with the stadium nickname “Death Valley”, and the third that plays “Tiger Rag” at football games.

South Carolina may have employed a former National Championship coach, but Clemson hired a former cheerleader.

USC will continue to celebrate its 1969 ACC Championship as long as Clemson continues to celebrate the days when it used to win against South Carolina on the field.

TNet4

I like eating change too! Nom nom nom.

TNet5

North Carolina: Last in overall defense

Georgia State: 121 in overall defense

Revenge: USC gets payback for Swamp visit in 2006

It was 2006; the stadium was ablaze in Gainesville and Ryan Succop was lining up for a 43 yard field goal with just seconds left on the clock. South Carolina took the snap, Succop had the leg, and it was good.

But there was a flag.

A false start on the Gamecocks, forced a retry from the 48 yard line. The kick was fluttering to the ground before it ever really left. The number six ranked Gators blocked their second field goal of the day, along with an extra point, to beat Spurrier’s Gamecocks 17-16 on their way to Urban Meyer’s first national championship.

A Carolina team left that stadium with a 5-5 record, four of those losses being by seven points or less to ranked opponents.

In 2014, a Carolina team left that stadium with a 5-5 record, however, a disappointing season was made a little bit sweeter by one little factor.

Revenge.

South Carolina has won only two games in Gainesville; both under Steve Spurrier Josh Thompson/ Garnet Report
South Carolina has won only two games in Gainesville; both under Steve Spurrier
Josh Thompson/ Garnet Report

With a blocked field goal to keep the game within reach, and a blocked punt with under a minute left leading to the game tying touchdown, the 2014 South Carolina avenged their 2006 brothers.

While South Carolina helped catapult the career of a great Florida coach in 2006, they helped to potentially end the tenure of Florida’s current coach.

Muschamp has been on the hot seat ever since an abysmal 4-8 season in 2013. With a two win streak, including a beat down of Georgia, coming into the game, Florida looked like it was back on the upswing heading into today’s matchup against a South Carolina team that had not been able to close on tight games throughout the season.

After the third special teams blunder of the day, Ryan Succop commented that “Special teams had a chance to help the team tonight, but we couldn’t get it done. It’s very disappointing.”

There was nothing disappointing about the special teams this time around.

For once since Spurrier began his career with South Carolina, special teams got the ‘Ole Ball Coach another “W” for the resume’.

And also a little slice of revenge from his first away trip to The Swamp.

The Coop-Cat: Offense of the future for South Carolina

What has been a rebuilding year for the team in 2014 will most definitely be a “wad that piece of paper up, chuck it in the trash, and start over” kind of year in 2015 for one major position.

Quarterback.

With the lack of depth and experience behind Dylan Thompson for next season, Steve Spurrier is going to be scrambling to find an adequate quarterback to take the reins of the 2015 South Carolina Gamecocks.

Connor Mitch has proven to be an unworthy candidate for the position, even driving Spurrier to comment that, “If he (Thompson) throws five straight interceptions, he is going to stay in the game.” This is something that is completely uncharacteristic of a coach known for yanking quarterbacks out of games in a heartbeat.

Brendan Nosovitch isn’t even a consideration and Perry Orth just doesn’t have the physical tools necessary to play in the SEC.

coastal1
Pharoh Cooper has become a diamond in the rough that is South Carolina’s 2014 campaign
Josh Huffines/ Garnet Report

That leaves nobody.

Going into next season with a bid question mark and no answers at arguably the most important position on the field does not bode well for a recovery from the disappointment of this season.

Nonetheless, there is a viable solution that could not only salvage the quarterback position, but see it excel beyond all expectations for next year.

Pharoh Cooper.

As a high school quarterback, Cooper threw for 2948 yards and 26 touchdowns, while rushing for `1293 yards and 20 more TDs in his senior season alone. As a Gamecock, he has taken dozens of snaps in the wildcat formation and even completed a couple passes for touchdowns.

Sure his mechanics may not be the greatest, but that’s why there’s an offseason. The possibility of taking a wide receiver and turning him into an All-American quarterback is so Spurrier it should come with its own visor.

And it wouldn’t be the first time he has tried it. In 2005, Spurrier’s first season as head coach, Syvelle Newton took snaps at running back, quarterback, and receiver throughout the season. Desperate times called for desperate measures and Spurrier called on his best athlete to step up to the plate and lead the team.

For 2015, it seems like more dark days are ahead and going into the season, Cooper looks to be the star of the team. With the team lacking experience and leadership, it will be his time to shine as the star of the Gamecocks.

The plan would be simple, change the offensive scheme to a misdirection based, high-octane, run-first offense with Cooper at quarterback and David Williams at running back (given that Mike Davis leaves for the NFL). Cooper doesn’t have to sling the ball like Peyton Manning. He just has to play a Nick Marshall-esque role, throwing anywhere from 10 to 15 passes off of play-action each game.

If the plans to set this new offense in motion are started with enough urgency, practice snaps could begin as soon as spring camp opens up in March. By the time the season rolls around, the new South Carolina hurry-up offense could be set in motion and eating defenses for breakfast.

And Pharoh Cooper will be leading the charge.

Marcus Lattimore to Retire

The player Steve Spurrier calls one of the “most popular and well-respected players ever” will retire from the NFL at the age of 23.

Marcus Lattimore’s pro career will end without him ever playing a down. The 49er said in a statement that getting his knee “back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable”.

Lattimore was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft after leaving South Carolina with a year of NCAA eligibility remaining. Although he was able to amount double-digit touchdowns in each of his three seasons, Lattimore’s career was marred by two ugly knee injuries. First he tore his left ACL his sophomore year against Mississippi State. He then tore every ligament in his right knee and dislocated his knee cap against Tennessee the next year.

It’s the second knee injury that has proven too much for Lattimore to return to playing form. After practicing last Monday and Tuesday and receiving rave reviews from 49er coaches, Lattimore began to again fell pain in his right knee and was unable to practice the rest of the week.

Lattimore plans to return to the University of South Carolina to finish his degree. Steve Spurrier said yesterday that either he, athletics director Ray Tanner or President Harris Pastides could find a position for Lattimore at the University after football.

“I am proud to be a part of the USC family,” Lattimore said in his statement, “and I promise to always represent the garnet and black with honor and integrity.”