COLUMBIA, S.C. — Injured South Carolina junior running back Marcus Lattimore is finished with college football. How long it takes him to make his NFL debut is anyone's guess.
Lattimore announced Wednesday he is giving up his final season to enter the NFL draft. He was considered a first-round talent after his first two seasons. However, a right knee injury in October has dropped his stock.
Lattimore dislocated his knee and damaged three of four ligaments when he was tackled against Tennessee. Doctors say surgery on his knee was successful and Lattimore easily walked into his gathering with media.
He came into this season off ligament surgery to his left knee, an injury that cost him the final six games of the 2011 season.
Despite his injuries, Lattimore said, "I wouldn't change a thing."
He and team physician Jeffrey Guy said it would take 12 to 15 months to recover, meaning it is unlikely Lattimore could play anywhere in 2013.
Lattimore said he received encouraging support from two NFL stars who came back from knee surgery: running backs Frank Gore and Willis McGahee. Lattimore said McGahee's "message was go with your gut, do what you think is best for you."
McCarron stays at 'Bama: Crimson Tide quarterback AJ McCarron, who has led his team to its second straight national title game, said he will return for his senior season.
"I had many goals for myself when I came to the University of Alabama," the junior said. "I have been lucky enough to achieve some of those goals, but some are still ahead of me."
McCarron leads Division I-A in passing efficiency headed into the BCS title game against Notre Dame on Jan. 7. He was MVP of the BCS title game against LSU last season. He is 24-2 as a starter.
Other draft news, Arkansas running back Knile Davis and Tennessee Tech receiver Da'Rick Rogers, both juniors, said they will enter the draft.
Texas Tech hires ex-QB: The Red Raiders are bringing back former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury to become coach. Kingsbury was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M, coaching Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, this year. He has never been a head coach and at 33, he will be one of the youngest in major college football. He succeeds Tommy Tuberville, who left for the Cincinnati job.
No abuse: An internal investigation into a former Washington State player's allegations of abuse by coach Mike Leach and his staff didn't turn up any evidence of such abuse, athletic director Bill Moos said. The dozen players interviewed all reported they were having a positive experience. Receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team and contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse. A Pac-12 review is still being conducted.
Arkansas State: Former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin was introduced as the Red Wolves' new coach, replacing Gus Malzahn.
Mississippi State: Running back Nick Griffin will miss the Gator Bowl against Northwestern after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.