San Francisco 49ers second-year running back
The 2013 fourth-round NFL Draft pick did not see the field in his rookie season but that could soon change in a few months.
The 5-foot-11, 221-pound runner, who suffered two major knee injuries during his time at the University of South Carolina, has suffered no setbacks in his recovery this offseason.
Lattimore tore three ligaments in his left knee in October of 2012. The injury caused him to spend his first NFL season rehabbing under the supervision of San Francisco’s medical and strength staffs.
Lattimore, however, is now like many players on the team’s 90-man roster. He’s on the field competing to get better in the offseason program.
“It’s been going good,” Lattimore told 49ers.com on Thursday. “I’m real happy because I’ve had no knee problems, nothing in my knee, no soreness, no swelling.”
There are, however, a few remaining challenge for the 22-year-old runner as he returns to the practice field.
“It’s all the other muscles around the knee getting used to the workload again and going full-speed,” Lattimore said. “That’s what I have to get used to, going full-speed again and getting those instincts back that I’ve had.
“I’m taking it one day at a time. Your hamstring gets sore, your calves get sore, but you push through that. And once you get used to that as the weeks go by, the more I get into football shape, I feel like I’ll be fine.”
The offseason workouts, dubbed “Football School” by Jim Harbaugh’s staff, represent the perfect time for young players on the roster to maximize opportunity.
“I’m getting a lot of reps out there,” Lattimore said. “I’m learning from the best, Coach (Tom) Rathman, and from watching the veterans, seeing how they work. I’m learning every day, learning more and more about the game every day.”
Lattimore said he’s encouraged by his progress in the four-week old offseason program, but he also knows there’s bigger boxes to check on his road to recovery.
“I’m building up towards OTAs, minicamps and when it matters,” Lattimore said, “I want to be in there and that’s the season.”
With the addition of Hyde, the 57th overall pick in the draft, San Francisco truly has a deep backfield.
Lattimore took no offense to the Hyde selection.
“I look at it like it’s competition,” Lattimore said. “Competition brings out the best in you. It brings out the best in every player in the backfield. We’ve got a group of great guys and we all want the best for each other, but at the end of the day, we all want to play.
“We’re going to compete and we’re going to bring the best out of each other and we’re going to have a great backfield.”
So how does Lattimore look on the field these days? Take the endorsement of his former college teammates, fourth-round draft pick
“He looks good,” the young wide receiver said.
It’s not a surprise for Ellington, who knows how hard Lattimore works at his craft.
“I knew Marcus was a hard worker,” Ellington said. “I knew once he got to the NFL it was going to transition over. He’s doing the same thing, working hard, getting after it and trying to be the best he can be.”