Leonard Fournette is one of the biggest forces in college football heading into this season. And after rushing for nearly 2,000 yards last season, many are thinking that he could in contention for the first overall pick next season. At this time next season, he could be getting ready to begin his rookie season in the NFL. And at this point, he would have signed his NFL contract. But those NFL dreams are one year away and he still has a season to play. The LSU Tigers are again a player in the National Title picture and they are viewed as a potential deterrent for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Fournette undoubtedly has to be a driving force for the Tigers to even have a shot at the title. At this point, some even question whether or not he should be playing. On one hand, he is trying to help his collegiate team win a national title. And on the other hand, he is putting himself in harm's way and could affect his future. Currently, he is dealing with a ankle issue that LSU is deeming as minor. But even with this minor issue, people are beginning to talk about him making a mistake not sitting out this season.
The star running back had a decision to make before the season in a lot of people's eyes. They felt he needed to sit down and not play the season while getting ready for the NFL. Many point to the things that happened to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney when he was faced with this choice as an example. Back in the summer of 2013, Clowney made the decision to play his junior season despite him knowing that he would be the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. And that season just seemed to hamper him in a lot of people's eyes. Clowney suffered a foot injury and he also seemed to lack the same desire he had on the field his first two seasons. As a result, some began to doubt why he came back to school because he did not look like he wanted to be there. If he was going to do that, then he could have just sat out and worked out. Clowney eventually became the first overall pick still, but his last season in college wasn't what many expected it to be.
Fournette has not given any indication that he will do the same things as Clowney. He seems to be committed to playing out the season and giving his all for LSU. But we truly won't know the answer to how he attacks this season until the first game kicks off. Fournette is a physical runner that can run through a defender as well as make one miss. But how he attacks that first defender will tell a lot about his approach to this season. He could run through the defender or make them look silly. Or he could give the defender and easy out and accept the tackle, choosing not to extend himself any further than he needs to. And what will be interesting is that decision will be made in the blink of an eye. Fournette may be saying and doing all the right things at this current time, but we all know that only he knows the true answer as to what he will or won't do this season. For his sake, he better come out there and play to his potential because he is not Clowney at all. In fact, Fournette is not even guaranteed the top spot like Clowney was.
Sitting out for the NFL has some things that could benefit you. One is less hits on your body and the other huge one is avoiding an injury that could harm your NFL career. But all in all, the decision is a personal one that many should not have so many hard feelings over either way. After all, the player that is held in such high acclaim is the one that will have to deal with the consequences either way. Fournette is a machine and can do about anything he wants on the field. And in the NFL, teams are ready for him to enter. Fournette surely knows that, but he also knows that not everything is certain. And for right now, that means he is going to give his all for LSU, or so he says.