Both Frank Gore and Marcus Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college. Both, however, are considered highly talented running backs, ones who have been known as explosive play-makers during their respective careers.
Gore stands as the San Francisco 49ers all-time leader in rushing yards, carries and rushing touchdowns. At 29, Gore is also coming off a Pro Bowl season, the fourth of his career.
Lattimore, the NCAA’s national freshman of the year in 2009, has yet to make a lasting career in the NFL. He’s still aiming to be drafted in 2013 after suffering his second major knee injury at the University of South Carolina.
However, the comparisons between the two are still easy to dissect.
Gore was a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005 and proved to be a brilliant selection for San Francisco.
Lattimore, on the other hand, stands poised to follow in Gore’s footsteps. The two also developed a relationship last year. Thanks to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a college teammate of Lattimore, the two were put in touch after the running back prospect tore all three major knee ligaments in his right knee against the University of Tennessee.
Lattimore later compared himself to Gore at the 2013 Scouting Combine.
“I feel like we both run hard,” Lattimore said. “He runs like nobody’s there. He runs with total destruction. I feel like if I could compare my game to anybody, it would be Frank Gore. He’s got low pads, he’s got great vision, he can see the whole field. Great balance.”
The comparisons between the two running backs continued this week in a recent episode of John Gruden’s Camp on ESPN.
The former NFL head coach asked Lattimore about both major knee injuries he suffered in college and how he’s been able to bounce back from the hardships.
“Anything that comes to me in life,” Lattimore began, “I feel like I’ve been through it all. Nothing can ever take the smile off my face because I’ll never take anything for granted again.”
Lattimore continued to detail the lessons he’s learned through rehab and why he’s pursuing a career in the NFL.
“I love football,” the South Carolina star told Gruden. “My kids they’re going to watch this one day and they’re going to see my dad never gave up.
“My story relates to everybody…Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
Gruden later commented that his father ribbed him for not drafting Gore back in 2005. When the 49ers running back broke a big run against a Gruden-coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the elder Gruden immediately sent his son a text message with a reminder of his praise for Gore.
It remains to be seen where Lattimore gets drafted in 2013, but his story is one to watch come April 25, especially with how it compares to San Francisco’s own starting running back.
More NFL Draft and 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.
NFL.com offers mock draft selections for the 49ers from multiple analysts. Alabama NT Jesse Williams is a popular choice.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle checked in with a story about Demarcus Dobb’s offseason rehab.
Branch also wondered if Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati is next in line for a contract extension.
49ers.com recapped CEO Jed York’s recent comments to NFL Network.
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Tags: Chris Culliver, Demarcus Dobbs, Frank Gore, Jed York, Joe Staley, Mike Iupati
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