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-Physically a man among boys at the college level, even as a freshman. Elite lateral quickness shown with sudden jump cut ability and transcendent acceleration for his size. His tape against Auburn in 2015 is more impressive than some college RBs career highlight videos.
-Decisive, punishing downhill runner who can also beat you on outside zone and toss plays. Able to anticipate defenders with active eyes and very good ball carrier vision. Very difficult player to game plan for.
-Extremely difficult to impossible to tackle in space at full speed. Heat-seeking missile that relishes contact and isn't afraid to take the most direct route through a defender. Many players have tried to tackle Fournette high and have bounced off like teflon.
-Shows rare ability to separate for being a bigger back at 230+ pounds. Shows game-breaking "home run" speed when hitting the second level and is a threat to break one off whenever he touches the football.
-Comes alive in key moments in the game. Player you can build your offense around who always wants the ball. Showed impressive competitive toughness hustling downfield to make a tackle vs. Wisconsin after QB threw an interception.
-True throw-back "bell cow" back who can shoulder the load for 30+ carries per game. Productive in goal line or short yardage situations.
-Makes himself "skinny" through the hole and shows rare agility and kinesthetic sense in tight spaces.
-Was not schemed as a receiver often in LSU's power run scheme. Good concentration when receiving passes and looking the ball in before turning up field.
-Uses his 236 pound frame to his advantage when assigned to pass protection and has shown steady improvement in blitz pick up year to year.
-Over-reliance on his physical running style will need to be adjusted at next level against bigger, stronger defenders. Will need to evolve his game and become a more complete, well-rounded back.
-Needs to develop more patience when carrying the football. Gets eager and out runs his fullback or pulling blockers, eliminating opportunities to reach the second level.
-Taking ankle injury into context in 2016, Fournette at times struggled to break the first tackle or with players behind the line of scrimmage, having to rely on building momentum to shed defenders.
-Missed five games in 2016 with an ankle injury and chose to sit out of 2016 Citrus Bowl despite being healthy for fear of future injury impacts his competitive toughness score.
-Has a habit of pre-maturely launching himself into the air on goal line situations from 4-5 yards out.
-Runs with a high pad level that will make him easy to target by NFL defenders. Desire to fight for extra yardage can lead to ball security concern issues (2 fumbles vs. Mississippi State in 2016).
-Lacks natural hands when receiving and appears stiff and uncomfortable running routes. Will never be David Johnson, but can still take advantage of scheming screens, dumps, and occasional wheels.
-Does not apply same physical effort and enthusiasm when picking up blitzers as he does running the football. Has a habit of turning and throwing his shoulder into pass rushers rather than squaring up and using his hands. Also drops his head in pass protection and fails to make solid initial contact.
-Fournette suffered from an ankle injury in 2016 that forced him to miss five games. It was reported by Will Carroll via SEC Country that Fournette's ankle injury is a chronic problem that will require constant maintenance or perhaps require surgery in the future. Left Auburn game early in 2015 with knee injury, but did not miss time.
-Fournette got into hot water for shoving a Florida assistant coach in a 2016 pre-game skirmish when he was declared to be out for the game. Pushing a coach, even an opposing team's assistant, could be a major red flag when it comes to discipline.
-Fournette's family was investigated in 2015 by the NCAA for setting up a website to sell unlicensed merchandise for profit.
-A lot of controversy shrouds Leonard Fournette's decision to skip his final bowl game of his collegiate career. At the time of the decision, Fournette took full responsibility, but a recent article published by College Football 24/7 Editor Dan Parr suggested that the decision was made by Ed Orgeron and completely out of Fournette's hands. On top of that, Fournette added he was in tears about the decision.
-One other thing that doesn't sit well with me is Fournette inking endorsement deals with Panini and Under Armour within days of the underclassmen deadline coming and going. I worked for a former NFL agent and I understand this business and marketing side of the game, but this shows a lack of focus on his draft preparation. If he is already being distracted by these types of things, what is it going to look like once he's a pro? Again, not a big deal, just an observation.
-On a positive note, Fournette auctioned off a game-used jersey against South Carolina for over $100,000 in 2015 to raise funds for South Carolina flood victims.
-In interviews, Fournette comes across as engaged and puts thought into his responses to media. Does not self-perceive himself to be too important for the moment and appears comfortable in front of a camera.
-Although Fournette has had eye-popping production accounting for 41 TDs from scrimmage in 32 career games, it must be noted that he struggled to produce in three consecutive years against future NFL-caliber defenders at Alabama, which may raise a red flag on how his game will translate to the NFL.
Top all-time single season rusher in LSU history (1.953 yards, 162.8/game), beating Charles Alexander's record which has been held since 1977 (1,686 yards, 153.3/game)
Number 4 all-time career rushing yards leader in LSU history with 3,830 yards behind Kevin Faulk, Dalton Hilliard, and Charles Alexander, who each played four years.
Tied for number 3 all-time career rushing TDs in LSU history with Charles Alexander (40).
Broke Alley Broussard's school record (26 carries for 250 yards in 2004 vs. Ole Miss) for most rushing yards in a single game (16 carries for 284 yards in 2015 vs. Ole Miss). Also broke his own record for highest yards-per-carry average for a rusher with a minimum 15 carries (17.8 yards/carry)
For information on our grading scale for RBs, click here.
ATHLETIC ABILITY: 7
MENTAL PROCESSING: 6
PLAY STRENGTH: 7
PLAY SPEED: 6
COMPETITIVE TOUGHNESS: 5
RUNNING ABILITY: 15
PASS PRO: 6
TOTAL GRADE: 81
BEST FIT: Feature back in a power-running gap scheme with heavy I-Formation
PLAYER COMPARISON: Adrian Peterson
INTERESTED TEAMS: TBD