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Monday declared 'Marcus Lattimore Day' in South Carolina (with photos)

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

The outpouring of support for South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore in the wake of his catastrophic knee injury has been widespread, but nowhere has it been more intense, obviously, than on campus on Columbia. And Monday, some 1,500 well-wishers reportedly turned out for a combination birthday party/get well rally for the Gamecocks' fallen star.

From the Twitter feed of local station WLTX reporter Sydney Cummins, a photo of the gathering:

But even that may not have made Lattimore (who was resting at home after his hospital stay) feel as good as this bit of news, as reported by Post and Courier reporter Daryl Slater:

Gubernatorial commendations for highly visible state residents like Lattimore (a South Carolina native, nonetheless) aren't exactly rarities, but still: his own day? All to himself? Not bad. From Slater, a photo of get-well posters being signed by Carolina students:

Lattimore also had "Happy Birthday" sung to him by the crowd and was able to relay a message via Steve Spurrier, who addressed the crowd: "Tell 'em I'll be back."

But Spurrier also sounded a strange note, per the Twitter feed of ESPN's Travis Haney:

Swinney and Spurrier have been engaging in a slow-burn war of words for months, but still, the timing on the OBC's part seems ... odd. Here's what Swinney said about Lattimore's injury:

"I was watching it, and it breaks my heart. I am sorry for him and his family. This is a guy that represents all the good things that college football should be about. He is a class young man and so is his family and I know how hard he worked. "

"If there is anybody I would bet on it is Marcus Lattimore. I know it will be a long process but I tell you what, I would put my money on Marcus Lattimore In a heartbeat. When he comes to terms with this, he will do everything he can to come back. My prayers go out to him and his family."

And via SBNation, here's the full context of Spurrier's comments:

'I read one today from the head coach at our upstate school -- you know, that school that used to beat us a lot that doesn't beat us much anymore -- usually when that coach up there talks about South Carolina it's a bunch of garbage and a bunch of BS. Usually. But I have to agree with him on what he said the other day. He said, 'Marcus Lattimore stands for what's right about college football.'

Swinney did seem to at least take those comments in stride, sort of:

No one will begrudge Spurrier his legendary candor or his usual verbal jabbing with Swinney. But after the Clemson coach's kind remarks, a rally in support of his injured player doesn't seem like the time for any kind of jabs, no matter how lighthearted they may have been intended--much less taunting over results or loaded "garbage" barbs. This is one case where Spurrier should have shown substantially more tact.

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