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Rehabilitating star follows same path from college as Gore

  • South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore, right, breaks through the Georgia defensive line to pick up a first down as Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (29) pursues during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Columbia, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Brett Flashnick)

SANTA CLARA — Marcus Lattimore won't have to look far for inspiration to make it in the NFL after a devastating knee injury. He'll find it standing next to him with the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers took a chance during Saturday's NFL draft by using a fourth-round selection on Lattimore, the South Carolina running back who suffered a career-threatening right knee injury last season just one year after tearing ligaments in his left knee.

San Francisco took a similar gamble several years ago when it spent a third-round selection on Frank Gore, who had suffered torn ligaments in each of his knees a year apart at the University of Miami before declaring for the NFL draft after his junior season.

That risk turned into high reward for San Francisco as Gore developed into a four-time Pro Bowl star on his way to becoming the franchise's all-time leading rusher. The 49ers are hopeful of future rewards from Lattimore after making him one of their seven selections during Saturday's final leg of the draft.

The 49ers also looked elsewhere in the fourth round to add firepower to their offense by selecting wide receiver Quinton Patton out of Louisiana Tech three picks ahead of Lattimore. San Francisco addressed defensive needs in the fifth round with lineman Quinton Dial of Alabama and in the sixth round with linebacker Nick Moody of Florida State.


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