No matter who you talk to in SEC country, LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles always gets mentioned by the same adjectives. Whether you chant roll tide roll or woo pig sooie, fans describe Miles as unpredictable and unorthodox. Whether he’s coaching at Tiger Stadium or meeting with fans, Miles is unique with everything he does.
This carried over into national signing day last February when LSU didn’t sign a single running back in its recruiting class. Tiger faithful are still frustrated over it, and after Jeremy Hill was suspended for the start of this season there are only two strong SEC caliber running backs in Alfred Blue and Kenny Hilliard in the fold for the team when they meet TCU in Arlington. Spencer Ware and Michael Ford aren’t in Baton Rouge either.
What could Miles and his staff possibly be thinking in their last recruiting season?
The answer goes like this: Leonard Fournette.
There’s no escaping who Fournette is for the Louisiana State staff. Standing at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Fournette is pound for pound the best high school running back in the country for New Orleans St. Augustine. Most recruiting analysts, including Tom Luginbill of ESPN, believe Fournette is even the best overall prospect in 2014’s college football recruiting class.
Talent evaluators see Fournette as a one stop shop, or in this case, Mr.Supreme because you get everything with him. Fournette presents a nice combination of speed and power who can deliver tough yardage with his frame. Fournette is an all-purpose back and a big threat out of the backfield with soft hands and 4.3 speed.
Fournette is down to LSU and Alabama as his college choices. He has planned to commit at the Under-Armour All-American game in St. Petersburg, Fla., the first week of January. Fournette has been a heavy lean to stay in state at LSU for some time, and it would be the wisest and obvious choice for him to stray just an hour away to Baton Rouge. He received his first offer from LSU as a ninth grader. Alabama has a real reason to keep insisting him coming to their school, but LSU has even more legitimate reasons.
The Mad Hatter and LSU running backs coach Frank Wilson, Fournette’s lead recruiter, have better points to sell the nation’s best prospect, even though Alabama is Alabama and they are recruiting him the hardest. LSU is a national title contender year in and year out, and based on performance, LSU has beaten the Tide two of the last three meetings. At LSU, Fournette would be a major contributor from day one, only sharing carries with Hill and Hillard in their senior campaigns. Alabama will put you in the pros, but LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron came from the NFL, worked with LaDainian Tomlinson and can get you the ball the same way Kevin Faulk was given the ball when he ran for 4,557 yards in his career. Alabama can’t deliver you a guaranteed promise of production at the start. T.J. Yeldon will most likely start next season after a sensational sophomore season in 2013. Kenyan Drake, Dee Hart, Derrick Henry, Altee Tenpenny, Alvin Kamara with 2014 blue chip running back Bo Scarbrough are a huge cast of running backs that Fournette would be competing against for carries.
Fournette should follow the deepest crop of talent Louisiana has ever seen to LSU with offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield and William Clapp, quarterback Brandon Harris, wide receiver Trey Quinn who committed Saturday, and also tight end Jacory Washington. Highly coveted recruits Gerald Willis, Malachi Dupre and Speedy Noil are all uncommitted but have LSU as one of their top choices.