Alabama is hosting the nation’s top running back in the class of 2014, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, La St. Augustine) who will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend with his high school teammate cornerback, Jermaine Roberts.
Fournette is the consensus top running back in this class, and 247Sports ranks the 6-foot-1, 230-pound tailback as the No. 2 player overall, but is there room for him in Alabama’s backfield?
Alabama had an embarrassment of riches in this year’s recruiting class at the running back position bringing in four of the top 10 running back prospects this year that included record-breaking back, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, Tyren Jones and Altee Tenpenny.
Henry is 6-foot-3 and 247 pounds, and may move to an H-back role in college after breaking the career rushing yards mark as a prep phenom. Jones is only 5-foot-8 and more of a change-of-pace back, leaving Tenpenny and Kamara for Fournette to compete against if he were to commit to Nick Saban’s program.
Of course there’s room for Fournette in Alabama’s backfield and every other backfield in America, he’s simply that good and would be an instant impact player as a freshman.
LSU is still the favorite in my mind to get Fournette and the native of Louisiana will be pressured to stay in-state and attend LSU and continue his playing career not too far from where he starred as one of the best running backs in the state’s history.
Les Miles and the Tigers did not sign one running back among the 27 commits they received this season. One reason for that is young tailbacks Jeremy Hill and Kenny Hilliard return to the backfield after being the top two rushers last season, but the biggest reason is that they are hoping to land Fournette and hand him the starting job as soon as he walks on campus.
Fournette is big, fast and strong. He has a great feel for the game, and LSU can ill afford to let the state’s top talent leave the state – something they rarely ever let happen – which is why I’m saying it’s a 75 percent chance Fournette is in purple and gold in 2014.
But that power of persuasion that Saban is famous for could change my percentages a great deal after this weekend visit, and can you imagine a backfield with Fournette and Henry lining up together? That’s 485 pounds of nastiness that even the best defenses in the country wouldn’t want to mess with.
Nevertheless, a decision won’t be made this weekend, but it looks like another chapter in the Alabama-LSU rivalry that has been invigorated in the last couple seasons.