Robert Klemko USA TODAY
Marcus Lattimore is back home following several months of rehabilitation in Florida with Dr. James Andrews, and the former South Carolina running back says he's planning on being ready to play by Week 1 of the NFL season.
That's after Andrews and a surgical team repaired his torn ACL, LCL and PCL on Nov. 2.
"I feel like, personally, I need three more months before I put some pads on," he tells USA TODAY Sports.
"I know my body. I know when I'll be ready to play. It takes time I know, but at the beginning at the season, I feel like I should be ready to go."
He's a wild card in the 2013 NFL Draft beginning Thursday. He's heard his name will be called anywhere between the second and fifth rounds, but he doesn't plan on watching the broadcast to find out. He's even considered the possibility that he won't be picked.
"If that happens," he says. "I'm going to find a team and I'm going to get to work."
Lattimore partook in a media tour Tuesday on behalf of EAS Sports Nutrition, his first endorsement since declaring eligible for the draft after injuring his right knee in the ninth game of his junior season. Before that, he was considered a likely first round pick should he depart USC.
He says the St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers have shown the most interest in him during the pre-draft process.
Lattimore thoroughly enjoyed his visit to New England, and came away impressed with three-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick.
"I like him. that was a real good visit," Lattimore says.
"He's straight-up with you. He knows everything about you before you walk in the room. It was great to meet him. They win, and you see why they win. Just the whole staff is really competitive."
Andrews Told USA TODAY in February Lattimore was twice as far along in his recovery than expected, and Lattimore says Andrews agrees that he'll be pro-ready by late July.
The Rams appear to be the ideal place for Lattimore to play early, with the departure of free agent running back Steven Jackson and a lack of experience on the depth chart.