There is already a huge amount of pressure riding on the broad shoulders of Leonard Fournette from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Fournette was the number 1 rated recruit in the entire country by most recruiting experts in the 2014 class.
There is already some talk of Fournette being a Heisman candidate. Freshmen have won it the last 2 years, so why not another freshman in 2014?
Leonard Fournette is 6-1, 225. Physically, he reminds of the great backs of old like Bo Jackson or Herschel Walker. I am not ready to put him in the same class as either of those guys, but Fournette is a perfect combination of size, speed, moves, strength and everything else a great Running Back would need. I’ve seen all of the great backs when they were coming up through the ranks. Earl Campbell, Billy Sims, Eric Dickerson, already mentioned Bo and Herschel and even Marcus Dupree. Leonard Fournette has that same exact look and feel about him as the earlier great ones. He is just the total package.
While he does have all the physical tools, the pressure on him to be like the legends of old and be something of a franchise player for the LSU Tigers is intense. It feels like an entire fan base expects Leonard Fournette to come in instantly and lead the Tigers past Alabama and everybody else in the SEC West and that’s a lot to ask of an 18 year old kid.
Fournette played high school football at New Orleans St. Augustine High School. He was a 4 year starter in high school and actually got an offer to play for LSU during his freshman season.
Fournette rushed for 7,619 yards and 88 rushing TDs at St Augustine High School.
As a senior, Fournette caught 45 passes for 745 yards and 6 more TDs.
His high school coach, Cyril Crutchfield, like to spread out his offense at times with a no back 5 wide out attack and would move Leonard out to WR. So, we know Leonard Fournette has the hands to be a super weapon out of the backfield. It’s a bit of a head scratching situation, in my opinion, to move the best Running Back prospect in America out to WR, but it did remove any doubt that Fournette could play out there if needed.
Fournette also returned Kick Offs for St Augustine and had several TDs. I never saw him return punts, but I am sure he could do that as well if needed.
At 225 pounds, Fournette won the Louisiana class 4A state championship in the 100 meters with a 10.68. That’s not world class sprinter speed, but it’s a great time for a 225 pound power back type of Running Back.
Fournette also ran a 21.78 in the 200 meters and ran on the sprint relays for his high school team.
When you combine his speed, with his strength and power,
Leonard Fournette could be one of the top Running Back prospects to come out of the high school ranks in many, many years. He is that good.
After much thought, Fournette picked LSU to play his college football. In the end, it came down to LSU and Alabama and Fournette chose to stay home.
LSU lost top Running Back Jeremy Hill to the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL. They also lost back up Alfred Blue to the Houston Texans.
They do have senior Terrence Magee (5-9, 215) who rushed for 626 yards and 8 TDs in 2013. Plus, they have another senior, Kenny Hilliard (6-0, 235) returning and he had another 310 yards rushing and 7 TDs.
The cupboard is not bare at LSU because of Magee and Hilliard. But, there is definitely an opening for Leonard Fournette to come in right away and get plenty of playing time.
LSU coach Les Miles loves to pound the ball on the ground so look for all of the combination of Magee, Hilliard and Fournette to get lots of carries in 2014.
Another thing working in Fournette’s favor is the loss of Zach Mettenberger at QB for the Tigers. They also lost their top 2 WRs to the NFL, so they will definitely rely more on the running game than the usual years.
The QB position is a battle between relatively inexperienced Anthony Jennings and true freshman Brandon Harris from Bossier City, Louisiana.
I believe that as the season wears on that Fournette will get more and more carries.
Will that be enough to win the Heisman Trophy? It’s highly doubtful that anyone but Jameis Winston of Florida State will win the Heisman, but bigger surprises have happened in the sporting world.
The main cable company in my area shows a lot of high school football games nationwide. For some reason, we got to see a lot of high school games out of Louisiana. I got to see Leonard Fournette in action in 4 different games and I will admit that I am very impressed with the athletic ability and the talent of Leonard Fournette.
I am a huge fan.
I realize he will not win the Heisman Trophy, but I am pulling for the young man to have a huge freshman year in spite of the title of this blog being a Mostly Unbiased college football blog.