The New Orleans Saints cornerback, Marshon Lattimore, who spots the number 23 jersey for the New Orleans sporting franchise has been long admired for his talent and engaging personality. Even though the professional American football player only joined the National Football League (NFL) in 2017, he has already established himself as one of the top defensive players in the league with not less than two Pro Bowl honors to his name.
Lattimore is definitely one rising star to watch out for and his success is made all the more enticing by his backstory. The young talent overcame some tough circumstances to make a promising start to his football dreams. His career was however almost ended before it had even begun by a niggling injury; the same fate that befell his father while in college.
Marshon Lattimore Fell in Love with Football At the Age of Three
Marshon Demond Lattimore was born on the 20th of May 1996 in Cleveland, Ohio. Mostly raised by his mom, he first fell in love with football as he saw his maternal uncles play the game. Both men often left their gear hanging around and one day, a three-year-old Marshon picked it up and declared that he was going to be a football player. His mom laughed it off as just the musings of a little boy but the young lad repeated his claim at the age of nine.
He subsequently followed it up by joining several teams in the youth league. At that level, Marshon’s skills blossomed until it became obvious that he was genuinely talented. Many therefore tipped him to go all the way but a family tragedy at the age of 14 nearly scuttled this plan. This tragedy was the death of his beloved cousin, Dayton, who was gunned down at the age of 18. This senseless loss affected Marshon immeasurably and he thought of quitting football entirely. However, he surmised that the NFL was his ticket out of his difficult circumstances and so preserved.
The young lad joined the football team at Glenville High School Cleveland where he played both in an offensive (wide receiver) and defensive (cornerback) position. In his senior year, Marshon caught 40 receptions for 911 yards and made 16 touchdowns as he helped his school to qualify for the Division 11 Ohio Championship game. In recognition of his personal exploits, he was named the defensive player of the year in the division and Associated Press also named him as a first-team All-State.
He Had a Hamstring Injury that Hampered his Collegiate Career
Following his superb run in high school, Marshon Lattimore was unsurprisingly courted by several colleges. He, however, chose to attend Ohio State University, which he always been his dreams, and spent a total of three years, 2014 to 2016, at the institution. During this period, Lattimore’s career was hampered by a hamstring injury that persisted throughout his first and second years. This injury derailed his ability to make his mark in the collegiate division and he started to despair.
He also took to serious yoga classes as well as other activities to complete his recuperation. Marshon later got his opportunity to shine in his third year and he did not disappoint. The Cleveland native started all games that year (2016 season) and posted 41 tackles (30 solos), one stop for a loss, four interceptions, and 13 passes defended. His strong performance was enough to catch the attention of the NFL, despite the fact that he only had one full season, and he was rated the number 1 cornerback in the draft by ESPN, and Sports Illustrated.
Dissecting His Impact in the NFL
Marshon Lattimore lived up to predictions and was picked in the very first round of the 2017 draft by the New Orleans Saints. He was the 11th overall pick of that year and the Saints signed him to a four-year contract worth $15,350,000. Even though he was just a rookie, the Saints gave him ample playing opportunities and he rewarded their faith in him. In a total of 13 games for the Saints (all of which he started), he made 53 tackles (44 solos), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, five interceptions for 85 yards, and 18 passes defended as the Saints finished first in their division and qualified for the playoffs.
They, however, failed to make it past this round but Lattimore still received several accolades as a testament to his amazing individual performances. He was elected to the 2018 Pro Bowl and was unanimously named the NFL defensive rookie of the year by Associated Press, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated, and PFWA. He was also named the NFL defensive rookie of the month on two occasions (October and December 2017), becoming the first player to achieve such a feat twice.
Since that outstanding debut season, Marshon Lattimore has continued to improve on his output thus proving that he is no fluke. Even though his second season for the Saints was a bit average, leading to hurtful insinuations that he is a sophomore slump, the cornerback has silenced the doubters by bouncing back with a bang in his third year. His impressive output, 46 tackles, 14 passes defended, and one interception, saw him collect a second Pro Bowl honor in just three career years.
A Look At Marshon Lattimore’s Family Background
Marshon Lattimore comes from an athletically gifted family. His mother, Felicia Killebrew, had brothers who were football players while his father, Marland Lattimore, was an outstanding quarterback in high school. He was so good that he earned a scholarship to Central State University in Ohio. Unfortunately, his career was prematurely ended by a knee injury in his first year.
Following that sad ending, the senior Lattimore did not really know what to do with his life anymore. He, therefore, dabbled into crime and between 1999 and 2008, was in and out of the penitentiary system. During this period, it fell on Felicia to provide for her three children all by herself. Her salary as a nursing assistant couldn’t do much and the family lived in poverty. What they lacked in finance, they, however, made up with the deep love they shared.
Marland Lattimore eventually left prison around 2008 and cleaned up his act. He found work doing home renovations and made much effort to be around his son. He also avoided making excuses and accepted that his life turned out how it did as a result of his own faults. Marland also made his son understand that he had the ability to be better than his background. The boy took these words to heart and today the rest is history. He is not only a shining light for the Lattimore family but also a star in the entire state of Ohio.