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NCAA Football LSU Tigers

LSU Tigers: Big Expectations Await Running Back Leonard Fournette

Kim Klement, USA TODAY SPORTS

Kim Klement, USA TODAY SPORTS

The hype that is bestowed on many freshmen can be too much for them to handle. It seems that some freshman enter the world of college football with the weight of certain programs on their shoulders, even before they have played in a college game.

While the weight of the entire program might not be on his shoulders, big things are already being said about Leonard Fournette, the true freshman running back for the LSU Tigers.

LSU head coach Les Miles has already said that Fournette has a Michael Jordan-type of desire to be special. Fournette’s teammates have compared the phenom to what Adrian Peterson must have been like as a freshman for the Oklahoma Sooners.

Fournette has all of the credentials. He was the nation’s top-rated recruit, according to some services, and he is being hailed as the next great running back at LSU. Fournette has the size, 6-1 and 230 pounds, to run the pounding style that Miles likes to have on his team.

But is it really fair to place so much hype and expectation on a 19-year-old who has never played a college game? Many coaches, no matter how excited they are about a player, will temper expectations until a true freshman actually takes the field. But this, of course, is Miles, who has never been one to hold back on saying much of anything.

Fortunately for Fournette, he won’t be the only one carrying the ball for the Tigers this fall. Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee are both experienced seniors who know the offense of Miles and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

This should allow Fournette to be worked into the offense gradually, which would benefit him, especially at the beginning. But if Fournette’s talent is as good as Miles, and others, say it is, he will be the main running back by the end of the year, even if he is just a true freshman.