Big changes for Lattimore

There are always surprises in recruiting and Marcus Lattimore dropped a couple on Monday night. Everyone thought he was just cruising along with his final five, but that wasn't the case.

Marcus Lattimore is the premier running back in the country. He has offers from just about every major BCS program from coast to coast. He has been going through the process for years and he will be signing papers with the school of his choice the first Wednesday in February of 2010.

What looked like a five team race has now been expanded to seven.

Auburn, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, and South Carolina are still in it, but Lattimore has put Florida State and Georgia back on his list.

UGA Head Coach Mark Richt brought the Dawgs back into the picture.

"I did visit Georgia on Saturday and I have to say that they are back in it for me," said Lattimore. "Georgia has never pressured me and that meant a lot. About two weeks ago me and my mom received a letter from Coach Richt. He wrote one to me and one to my mom, so we both got our own letters on the same day."

"I expected it to say good luck or something like that, but he listed 10 reasons why I should go to Georgia. He said that I fit the offense like a glove, he said that the location is not too close and not too far, and things like that. They were all legit reasons for me to look at Georgia again. I was not expecting anything like that so it kind of blew me away."

His mom liked hers as well. She has always been a fan of Coach Richt and this letter made her think even more of the Bulldogs coach.

Lattimore now has a final seven.
"My mom visited Georgia with me before so she has met Coach Richt. She likes him a lot and she kind of had questions about that when I took Georgia off my list. She likes him as a person, she really likes how he adopted kids from Ukraine, and she trusts him as a person. She knows I would be in very good hands if I went to Georgia. Her letter was just letting her know all of that and how I would be taken of if I went there. She really liked it."

The five-star running back out of Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes liked the letter enough to pay Georgia a visit when they hosted South Carolina on Saturday. It took Lattimore about a week and a half to respond to Coach Richt's letter, but it seemed to be worth the wait for UGA.

"I called Georgia last week about two or three days before the game to let them know I was coming and they were all very excited," explained the number two prospect in the country. "I talked to Coach Richt and Coach [Bryan] McClendon and it was great to talk to them again. Me, my dad, and my cousins went down to the game and it was crazy. The atmosphere, the crowd, the game – it was all ridiculous. The students were so loud the entire game and it was great to be there for that. I couldn't even hear myself think on that last play because it was so loud in there."

Before the game Coach Richt put all aside to spend some one on one time with Lattimore. He took him into a team room and showed him some video. He tried to break it down to the Byrnes star just how and why he wants him to wear red and black on the next level.

"Coach Richt showed me some tape of the Oklahoma State game and showed me how they would use me and what they would do with me. He showed me certain formations, running plays, how they would use me in the passing game, and all of that. I think I could really help Georgia and do well there if I chose them."

The coaches were not the only ones recruiting the most college ready high school back in America. One of Georgia's top commitments was in Athens and he talked to Lattimore about the Bulldogs.

"I talked to Brent Benedict (four-star offensive tackle) and he is a big dude (6-6/295). He talked to me about a lot of different things and he told me how he would really like to block for me at Georgia. He is a cool guy and I like him a lot. He had a lot of good things to say about his commitment and Georgia."

Between the letter by Coach Richt, the atmosphere on Saturday, the way UGA would use him at running back, and Benedict's talk with him Lattimore has decided to give Georgia another look.

This visit was nice, but he will return.

"I am going to go back to Georgia after the season to visit Georgia one more time. I want to walk around the campus, hang out more with the players, and just get a better feel for it. The first time I did that before I made my cuts was at night and I just didn't get a good feel for things. I liked it a lot on Saturday and I want to look at them more now. They have a great program, Coach Richt is a great man, and Georgia knows how to showcase their backs."

The program Mark Richt coached at before he moved to Athens is also back in it. A school that one time was thought to be the school to beat by some experts have re-entered the picture.

"Florida State is back in it for me too," he said. "I was just talking to Justin Bright (former teammate of Lattimore) and he was talking about how they did not play good against Jacksonville State on offense or defense."

"I started thinking during that conversation about them when they played Miami and how Jimbo Fisher ran the zone from under center, out of the shotgun, and out of the pistol. They ran the inside and outside zone from all different kind of formations and that is my game."

Like he feels about Georgia, Lattimore feels he can help the Noles out of the backfield as well.

He will visit Tennesse in two weeks with teammates/UT commits Brandon Willis and Corey Miller.
"I am downing anything because they have good backs, but I know I could get back there and contribute at Florida State. I think I could make an early impact there in the system they run."

Playing early is what all top recruits want and seeing the system they run, feeling he can get on the field early, and with his prior connection to the FSU staff, Lattimore gave two coaches a call.

"I called Coach Fisher and Coach [Dexter] Carter Sunday night to tell them I was still interested in them. Coach Carter was very excited – right when we got on the phone, he told me he had been waiting on this phone call. "Those were the only two schools in my top five that did not call me on September 1. Neither one of them have pressured me, but both were really excited when I called them. I like the coaches at each school, I like how they have respected me, and I am going to add these two to my list."

Lattimore has three official visits set a of right now and they are the only three he will take during the season. They are to Florida State on October 10 when they play Georgia Tech, to Auburn on October 31 when they play Ole Miss, and to Penn State on November 7 when they play Ohio State.

He said that he will likely not take an official visit to South Carolina because it is close and he has been there so much, so North Carolina and Oregon will likely get the two final official visits with Georgia and the Gamecocks getting unofficial visits due to the location.

A lot of people think South Carolina is where Lattimore will end up because of it being close to home, he has family there (his sister attends USC), and other things, but Lattimore had this to say about that.

"A lot of people say that and think that, but if I knew I was going to South Carolina then I would be committed by now. I may go there, but I may not. Oregon is far away, but I am seriously looking at them too. Just about my whole family is visiting out there with me so I am serious about them like I am all the other schools on my list. I do not know where I am going yet and I don't think I will until all of my visits are overwith."

Lattimore said there is no chance for an early commitment and that his decision will be announced on Signing Day 2010.

Chad Simmons is the Recruiting Analyst for the South Region and he can be reached at Recommended Stories

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