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      Spurrier: Lattimore will play again for Gamecocks

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says running back Marcus Lattimore told him he will be back on the field for the Gamecocks.

      Spurrier spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 players, students and fans who turned out Monday at an on-campus rally to wish Lattimore a speedy recovery and a happy 21st birthday.

      The event was held on USC's historic horseshoe. Fans crowded the area with homemade signs, balloons, and signed giant get well cards for the star running back.

      Lattimore dislocated his right knee and severely damaged several ligaments in a horrific injury Saturday against Tennessee.

      Steve Spurrier says Lattimore sent him a text saying he isn't done playing for South Carolina. Doctors have told the junior his injury could take more than a year of recovery, keeping him off the field until the 2014 season.

      "Marcus Lattimore stands for what's right in college football. I've been really fortunate in 23 years as a head coach in college to coach some really outstanding guys," said Spurrier. "Marcus is at the top of the list."

      Lattimore watched the rally over the internet while teammates and fans showed a high level of respect for the junior from Duncan.

      "Marcus Lattimore has given the university so much hope," said USC senior Robert Grant. "He's made it so we can dream so much better than we've been able to do since 1987."

      "It's not just that he's a great football player, it's that he's a great person," said USC junior Emily Cooper. "Everyone that meets him knows that he's a great person and he's done countless things for USC."

      Lattimore rushed for 662 yards this season and his 41 career touchdowns are a school record.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)