INDIANAPOLIS -- Remember Marcus Lattimore?
Former Plainfield North star running back Kapri Bibbs does.
Lattimore is the former South Carolina running back who was considered possibly the best player at his position in 2012 and a likely first-round draft pick. But he blew out his right knee during his final collegiate season, tearing the ACL, MCL and PCL ligaments. He wound up being selected in the fourth round by the 49ers a year ago and has yet to carry the ball in an NFL game or even play a single snap, although he's looking forward to getting back on the field next season.
That lesson was not lost on the 5-foot-11, 213-pound Bibbs, who decided to leave Colorado State after just one season, with two years of eligibility remaining. He started his college career at Snow Community College in Utah and also attended Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colo., but did not play football there.
"There's always that (one) play, like Marcus Lattimore had and other great running backs had," Bibbs said. "You have guys that stayed (in school) and then complain about their knees. Luckily I'm in a situation where I'm not banged up at all, and I'm perfectly healthy and God blessed me to be in this situation and be able to step on this field here and show everybody what I got at my age."
The 21-year-old Bibbs rushed for 1,741 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, both CSU records. He was third best among all running backs at the Scouting Combine with 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, more reps than several offensive linemen. But his official 4.60 40-yard dash did not help his cause.
The NFL Draft Advisory Board told Bibbs that he projected as a seventh-round pick, but a better 40-time at his pro day could bump him up. Even if it doesn't, Bibbs just wants an opportunity at the next level. And he has no second thoughts on his decision to leave early, although he'll be second-guessed if he goes undrafted.
"The NFL (stands for) Not For Long," Bibbs said. "Every time I see the NFL logo, I know it's for Not For Long. I know I have to get it while it's good.
"That's the main thing (for me), to get drafted. I know if I make a team, I'm going to show them why they picked me and every team that passed me up, or chose a running back before me, I'm going to make sure I make them pay."
If the Bears select a running back in the draft it's likely to be late, and Bibbs would be happy to come back home as a pro.
"I grew up watching the Bears," he said. "Being home would definitely be awesome, almost like a LeBron and Cleveland thing, it's be like a Kapri Bibbs-Chicago thing."
As a senior at Plainfield North, Bibbs rushed for 2,654 yards, averaging 8.8 yards per carry and scoring 38 touchdowns. Against Oswego he rolled up a state-record 520 rushing yards and scored 7 TDs.
Setting goals -- and achieving them -- has always been a part of Bibbs' game. Making it in the NFL will be his most difficult challenge.
"I've been a goal-setter my whole life," he said. "I told myself I was going to come out of college in three years, and I came out of college in three years. I told myself when I got to Colorado State, that before I left I was going to rush for 15-hundred yards and 20 touchdowns before I left. Luckily God has blessed me enough to reach those goals."
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