COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Marcus Lattimore is about to be on the NFL draft clock when the annual football spectacle kicks off at Radio City Music Hall in New York City Thursday night. But, Lattimore won't be there.
South Carolina's all-time touchdowns leader will be in Atlanta with his team of representatives over the next few days waiting to find out his NFL fate.
Lattimore was expected to be the first runningback taken in this year's draft before suffering his second straight season-ending knee injury last October. On Saturday, it will be six months since Lattimore dislocated his right kneecap and tore three knee ligaments in a game against Tennessee.
Many considered the injury to be career-threatening, but his surgery and recovery under the guidance of sports medicine guru Dr. James Andrews, has been considered a major success, keeping Lattimore from falling off the draft board.
The Duncan native continues to say he will be ready to play this fall for whichever team is willing to take a chance on him.
"I feel like, personally, I need three more months before I put some pads on," Lattimore told USA Today Sports this week. "I know my body. I know when I'll be ready to play. It takes time I know, but at the beginning of the season, I feel like I should be ready to go."
Lattimore says he has talked with several NFL teams including St. Louis, New England, Philadelphia and San Francisco and has gotten positive reviews about his NFL chances. Some analysts have Lattimore pegged as a possible mid-round pick, possibly in the late third round.
But, Lattimore understands the business side of the draft and knows it's a possibility he may not be drafted at all. He also knows that once he does get on a team he will prove he belongs.
"I have no clue where I will wind up," Lattimore told The Wall Street Journal this week. "Shoot, I've heard from first to undrafted. It's still a mystery to me."
Lattimore's rehab has picked up over the last few weeks with straight-ahead sprints, but, he says he is still a few weeks away from hard cutting and side-to-side running.
(USA Today and The Wall Street Journal contributed to this report.)