49ers sign Marcus Lattimore to 4-year contract

Jason O. Watson

San Francisco signed its potential running back of the future on Friday.

The San Francisco 49ers signed rookie running back Marcus Lattimore to a four-year contract on Friday, according to the team's website.

The former South Carolina running back was one of San Francisco's two fourth-round draft selections (at 131st overall) this offseason. Lattimore continues on the road to complete recovery after suffering a brutal injury last season against the Tennessee Volunteers, which ripped up three ligaments in his right knee.

Since they drafted him, the 49ers have put Lattimore on a strict workout plan that limits how hard he can -- even if he wants to push harder -- work out and rehabilitate. If it turns out that it's best for Lattimore's long-term career that he miss all or most of the 2013 season, however, both the team and player seem content with the potential decision. It also helps to still have Frank Gore in the backfield, too.

Lattimore holds South Carolina's all-time records for rushing touchdowns, with 38, and total touchdowns, with 41. He piled up 2,677 rushing yards as a Gamecock, was a two-time member of the All-SEC team and was named the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2010.

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