Marshon Lattimore Gives Ohio State a Versatile Performer on Both Sides of the Ball

By Kyle Rowland on June 16, 2014 at 8:30a

When Urban Meyer, Mark Pantoni and the rest of the Ohio State brain trust discussed recruiting strategy for the Class of 2014, the secondary was targeted as an area of need. And when Meyer wants something, he gets it. So the Buckeyes signed four defensive backs – and one wide receiver.

Glenville’s Marshon Lattimore enters Ohio State with a multitude of skills. He can lock down opposing wide receivers when playing cornerback or give defenses fits when he lines up at receiver. Lattimore’s versatility was present Saturday in the inaugural Ohio-Michigan Border Classic.

With a small roster, he played on offense and delivered an impressive performance, finishing with eight receptions for 99 yards. While Ohio lost the game, Lattimore won over admirers, even after being ranked as one of the top recruits in the state and the entire nation. He had the unusual distinction of being rated a top-five athlete and a top-10 cornerback.

As Glenville made deep playoff runs, Lattimore became a coveted prospect. Several honors came his way after a senior season that included 911 yards receiving 16 touchdown receptions and three special teams touchdowns. Lattimore was named the Division II defensive player of the year and a U.S. Army All-American.

“[Ohio State] will probably try to put me at receiver, especially after this game,” he said, smiling. “I like defense more, but it’s an all-star game. I just tried to play wherever the team needed me.”

Lattimore was named Ohio’s offensive MVP and was clearly the most dynamic player in the game. He continually got behind the defense, doing so on obvious pass plays that were coming his direction. Team Ohio coach Mike Fell was familiar with Lattimore’s exploits prior to arriving in Findlay. But the wide-ranging difference-making ability didn’t become evident until the team held its first practice.

“Marshon’s a great athlete,” Fell said. “We tried to get him the ball. If you’re going to Ohio State, you’re the best guy. That’s the bottom line. In all-star games, you try and get the top guys the ball. What I came away with after spending three or four days with these young men was you can see why they are at the top of their game – great young men, very responsible, come to practice, work hard and represent Ohio and their towns well. That’s what these all-star games are all about.”

There were a few blemishes for Lattimore. He fumbled the ball twice, though one was in the final minutes on a hook-and-ladder, as Ohio tried to fuel a comeback in the 27-14 loss. He also was part of some chippiness, including having his helmet dislodged by a Michigan player. Lattimore chocked it up to being competitive.  

It’s a trait he takes to Ohio State. When asked about goals for his true freshman season, Lattimore didn’t hesitate with a bold answer: start. Not only is that the stated objective, but he believes redshirting isn’t a possibility. 

“I can always improve on my game, period,” Lattimore said. “I want to start as a freshman. I want to contribute wherever they need me – offense, defense, special teams. It doesn't matter. Redshirting is not an option. [Meyer] said it too.”

Where exactly can you find Lattimore in the fall? Definitely on defense at cornerback and one would think special teams is a desired destination for Kerry Coombs. Lattimore’s pass catching and elusiveness won’t go unused, though. He revealed that Meyer wants to him to play wide receiver on a part-time basis.

The Buckeyes enjoy depth at receiver but no standout performer. The list includes plenty of unproven talent that’s eyeing 2014 as a breakout season. Add Lattimore to the growing assortment of flair.

“I guess I’ll be like Chris Gamble,” he said.

It’s been 11 seasons since Gamble’s two-way flexibility gave Ohio State one of its most memorable players in the past half century. Gamble’s move to defense fulltime during the 2002 season coincided with the belief that the Buckeyes were a legitimate national title contender. Predictions of a similar sea change aren’t imminent for a true freshman. But Lattimore’s impact should be felt before fall camp commences.

“Marshon is a phenom. You can play him anywhere,” Glenville head coach Ted Ginn Sr. said. “[Saturday] was just an example of what he can do.”

Amid all the backslapping, Lattimore hid any sense of satisfaction. Instead, his attention was focused on the final score and the areas of his game that could have been more finely tuned.

“I could have been way better than what I played,” he said, with a sense of disappoint.

In the dead of summer, six weeks before his first college practice, Marshon Lattimore lamented his MVP performance in an all-star game. He’ll be right at home with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman.  


Comments Show All Comments

buckeyefan333's picture

Why does the article list his name as both Marshon and Marcus? Does he go by both?

+1 HS
rdubs's picture

Probably just a slip of the tongue.  Marcus Lattimore was the great South Carolina running back that had some knee problems.  Hopefully Marshon stays away from those.

+1 HS
Becool12's picture

I think it was just a common mistake. Marcus Lattimore was a beast running back for South Carolina a few years ago and his name starts off the same. 

AcrossTheField11's picture

Chris Gamble 2.0?  That's a very welcoming / exciting headline.  

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

+2 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

No doubt. There is nothing that adds excitement/hype to a team like a two way perimeter player (see Gamble or the traitor Charles Woodson). Gamble is easily in my top 5 favorite Buckeyes. His pick 6 against PSU still remains one of the rowdiest/loudest times in the Shoe that I can remember. 

Really hope Marshon can bring that kind of effort to the current Bucks. I recall Gamble playing a couple games with something like 120 plays overall. 

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Chris Gamble did some good things.

He won a national championship.

+8 HS
osu07asu10's picture

Chris Gamble did do some things, Hove...


CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

The 0 is silent.

+12 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

That was awesome OSUASU. Thanks for posting!

+1 HS
Mean Mr Mustard's picture

I am sure that Meyer and Herman can think up some real creative ways to utilize his skills especially in this offense.

Serious question here.  With all of the pattern matching schemes out there in football today, would it be too much for a player to play both ways?  We saw a lot of blown assignments in coverage last season and those players were full time DBs.

+1 HS
johnny11's picture

Him and Noah Brown were my favorite players in this class excited for both of them to don the scarlet and gray. Go Bucks

+1 HS
hetuck's picture

I see pick-6s against PSU in his future. I also think his immediate contributions will be on the kickoff team pinning returners inside the twenty and possibly as a gunner on the punt team with Damon Webb. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

NeilAve's picture

Even though it is the Ohio/Michigan Border Classic, it is still hard hearing the term 'Ohio' vs Michigan because of what the wolverine fans have coined osu's new nickname in recent years lol

+1 HS
BierStube's picture

He also was part of some chippiness, including having his helmet dislodged by a Michigan player.

Apparently they are teaching this at an early age up North!

"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+3 HS
rkylet83's picture

I think he'll play corner mostly.  Unless he is needed on the offensive side of the ball (Ted Ginn 2004), I see him being a great shutdown corner.

EDUGOON's picture

Lattimore is a beast!!! Pound for Pound best skill player in this amazing class. I expect an early impact from this kid!!! But please don't sleep on E.Smith!!!! He's a class A1

"We Don't Believe You, You Need More People"- Hova #GOBUCKS #FreeElGuapo #Famthik

+2 HS
EDUGOON's picture

*He's a class A1 enforcer in the back end.

"We Don't Believe You, You Need More People"- Hova #GOBUCKS #FreeElGuapo #Famthik

allinosu's picture

I read Erick Smith play very good as well.

Nutty's picture

Smith and Lattimore are both players to get excited about. Both have a very good chance of playing early.

+1 HS
buckeyeT24's picture

Chris Gamble's stamina and athleticism was out of this world.  It's not that some players don't have the skills to play both ways, but rather they lack the stamina needed to play at maximum effort. 

jaxbuckeye's picture

We can only hope.  It's really hard to choose a favorite Buckeye of all time, but I'd have to say that Gamble was probably my favorite (just ahead of Clarett).   The things he could do on the field were amazing.  He was on a different level than everyone else on the field.

+2 HS
CC's picture

I loved Gamble, at the time it didn't seem like he got much national attention unlike Woodson and others.  He was a very special player and I'd rankin him up there with Pace, Troy, Kat, Hawk and others as one of my favorites.

Knarcisi's picture

As fun as Gamble 2.0 sounds, I'm not in favor, nor should we need to.  We're recruiting athletes at a much higher level today.  Our Gamble teams weren't rich and deep in offensive talent.  And I think we need top CBs to be ... well, top CBs, with every bit of energy they have.  If the need would arise, maybe.  Just don't think it should or will.

+1 HS
Horvath22's picture

Ahhhh, Chris Gamble. One of my favorites. And don't forget his running down the PSU defensive back who had a 10 yard head start with a blocker, or his amazing interception at the end of the Purdue game.