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Seniors Crawford and Okoli Preview Key Leaders Division Clash With Illinois
Having earned his degree this past May to culminate four years of dedicated work in the classroom, Eric Latimore is anxious to return to educating opposing quarterbacks and running backs about his playmaking abilities. Latimore was among the Nittany Lions who were swept up in the wave of injuries last season. The talented and physically imposing defensive end appeared in each of the first five games, including three starts, before suffering a season-ending wrist injury against Illinois. One of the squad's most experienced and tenacious players, he saw limited duty in the spring and should be 100 percent in time for preseason camp. Latimore has demonstrated the ability to make big plays for the Nittany Lions' defense. He recorded 3.5 sacks in 2009, the third-highest total on the team, and had 2.5 tackles for loss in the initial five contests last year before his injury. Latimore's hard work in the weight room and on the practice field has helped him make substantial progress and emerge as a disruptive force capable of making numerous big plays. A first-team all-state selection at Middletown HS, he is a highly-skilled and mobile athlete, with good speed and instincts. Last season's injuries to Latimore and Jack Crawford enabled several younger players to gain experience at defensive end and the competition should be fierce for starting assignments. He is among five Nittany Lion returnees from Delaware.
Latimore played in the initial five games, with three starts. But, on the first play against Illinois, he suffered a broken wrist, which required surgery and ended his season. He made six tackles, with 2.5 tackles for loss, for the season. Latimore made two solo stops against Kent State, including one minus-yardage hit, and posted solo tackles against Temple and Iowa, with a TFL. He saw action on 157 snaps during the first five games, led by 43 at Alabama, before suffering the wrist injury.
2009 Junior Season
Latimore seized the opportunity to earn significant playing time, seeing action in every game, with five starts. He made 21 tackles, recording 6.0 tackles for loss for minus-22 yards, and one pass breakup. Latimore also recorded 3.5 sacks for minus-18 yards, the third-highest total on the team. He started the initial three games of the season, as well as the Illinois and Eastern Illinois contests, battling Jerome Hayes for the starting nod throughout the season. Latimore made a career-high five tackles in the win at Illinois, including a sack. He made four hits each against Iowa and Ohio State and recorded sacks in the wins over Akron and Northwestern. Latimore added two tackles and forced a fumble on the final play in the thrilling Capital One Bowl victory over LSU. He played on 376 snaps, led by 58 against Iowa and 44 against Illinois.
2008 Sophomore Season
Latimore battled for the top reserve spot behind senior Josh Gaines and saw action in nine games for the Big Ten Champions. He recorded seven tackles -- six of which were solo stops -- and had one sack. He made two solo stops in the season-opener against Coastal Carolina, including a sack for minus-three yards. He also made two tackles each against Syracuse and Temple. He saw action on 96 snaps, topped by 18 in each of the first three games of the campaign.
2007 Freshman Season
Latimore was a three-year starter for Coach Mark Delpercio at Middletown HS. A team captain, he was selected first-team all-state and first-team all-conference. He also was a first-team All-Northeast selection by Scout.com. He was sidelined by a shoulder injury during a portion of his senior season, but recorded 24 tackles, 7.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. As a junior, he made 50 tackles and had 12 sacks, helping his team finish as state runners-up. He played in the 2006 Blue-Gold game. Latimore also was a member of back-to-back state championship basketball teams, with the 2004-05 squad compiling a 26-1 record.
Full name is Eric Latimore II. He is the son of Eric and Kim Latimore and has two sisters. Latimore is related to Philadelphia basketball legend Sonny Hill. He enjoys walking on the beach. Latimore is enrolled in the crime, law and justice program. Born February 16, 1987.
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