INDIANAPOLIS — **Ohio State cornerback and Cleveland native Marshon Lattimore remembers his time at Glenville like it was yesterday.
"I just talked about that with some of my friends, like time was flying," Lattimore said Sunday here at the NFL's annual scouting combine. "It feels like two weeks or a month (ago) just how fast the time is going, but I'm here and I'm ready for it."
The former Tarblooder and Senate League standout is widely viewed as the top prospect in a loaded group of cornerbacks, and he made his case as such.
"Of course, everybody's going to say they're the best," he said, "and I feel like I'm the best."
Lattimore, though, is particularly intriguing for teams across the league with his overall athleticism, closing speed and playmaking ability.
"There's a lot of talent here from top to bottom. A team's going to get a great player in the fourth round just like they would get one in the first round," he said. "It's a deep draft and I'm honored to be considered one of top cornerbacks in the draft and just coming from where I came from, it's a blessing."
Indeed, Lattimore battled through challenges on and off the field, notably chronic hamstring injuries that threatened to derail his college career before it began. He missed his freshman season because of surgery and was sidelined for much of the following year.
When he finished this past fall camp unscathed thanks to strength work and yoga classes, Lattimore, a former five-star recruit, realized he'd finally have an opportunity to prove his worth.
"The previous two years, I didn't make it through three days of practice," he said, "so just to make it through the who camp, I knew I had good hopes of a good season."
That intuition was right. Lattimore emerged as an impact player on an Ohio State defense that finished fourth in total yards, sixth against the pass and sixth in interceptions. He totaled 41 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups in his first season as a starter.
What makes Lattimore's story special, though, has also raised some questions as NFL teams consider whether he and others are worth an investment.
That's the first thing they ask me: how are my hamstrings? Just tell them about my hamstring situation but I'm 100 percent fine," Lattimore said. "I knew it was gonna come up I'm not annoyed, I'm just enjoying the process right now."
That's because making it this far to Indianapolis was the plan through all the highs and lows. "This is my dream to be here," he said "and I'm here so I have to prove myself."