Leonard is One of a Kind
Fournette running through record books at staggering pace
***This article originally appeared in the October issue of Three Point Stance Magazine. To subscribe to the magazine, go to 3PSMag.com/subscribe***
In a previous issue of Three Point Stance Magazine, I said Nick Chubb is undoubtedly the best player in college football.
My, oh my, how foolish I was to overlook the one guy whose high school highlights vaulted even the most skeptical talent evaluators into a state of awe. There is a new narrative developing not only around the SEC, but in college football as a whole.
That being, that Leonard Fournette is the best player in college football. Indeed, there is a new sheriff in town when it comes to SEC running backs. As talented and magnificent as Chubb is, as well as others such as Arkansas’ Alex Collins, Tennessee’s Jalen Hurd and Kentucky’s ‘Boom’ Williams, Fournette has officially staked his claim as the next coming of Herschel Walker.
There, I said it.
And if you’ve read my content before, you know I’m not that guy. I didn’t buy the “Jeremy Johnson is the next Cam Newton” hype, nor did I have any confidence that “Arkansas’ new backfield is on par with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones.” I don’t like to compare current players to former players, but I’m telling you honestly, I have never seen anything like Fournette on film. And I know I said the same thing about Texas A&M’s Kyler Murray from a quarterback perspective, which still holds true. We’ll see how that one plays out. The thing is, in college football, legends don’t come around every day.
Some LSU fans probably would be offended that I compared Fournette to Walker, because they realize Fournette has the potential to be even better. And I would think Fournette might be offended too, because in the end, he won’t be the next coming of anybody. He will be the first coming of Leonard Fournette.
Of course, Georgia fans are already writing up the hate mail. What about Auburn fans? Might as well upset them too and say that Fournette will be better than Bo Jackson. Here’s the thing about comparing Fournette to these former greats. I’m not comparing their in-game statistics, their abilities or their competition levels. When I say Fournette is the new ‘Herschel’ or the new ‘Bo’, what I really mean is Fournette has a similar on-field presence. It’s easy to point to the stat lines and say that through four games, Fournette’s numbers – 864 yards and 11 touchdowns – are better than those of Walker and Jackson. And that statement would be correct. But the real kicker is the fact that Fournette has that same aura around him.
He’s a once-in-a-generation talent. His presence alone on the field is what is driving LSU to be a college football playoff contender. It was the same way with Walker and Jackson in the 1980’s. Fournette currently leads nearly every early Heisman poll, and though the season isn’t even halfway through, barring an injury, there is absolutely no doubt the award will be Fournette’s to lose. As long as LSU keeps giving him the rock, he is going to continue to do magical things with it. He has rushed for over 200 yards in three consecutive games, for goodness’ sake. That is unheard of and unprecedented.
It’s easy to point out how well the guy is doing early in the season, but he’s the kind of talent who can keep it up throughout the season. So far, nobody has had an answer. The closest running back to come with the same kind of star power in recent memory was McFadden, when he helped lead Arkansas to 10 wins in 2006. But McFadden, with all his talents, wasn’t half the running back Fournette is. And when it’s all said and done, as weird as it sounds, the same may be said about Walker and Jackson.
This guy is special.