As the NFL draft nears, USA TODAY High School Sports will look back at the high school careers and draft prospects for former American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections. Today’s installment features LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
Position: Running back
High school: St. Augustine (New Orleans)
ALL-USA history: ALL-USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2013 as a senior and to the ALL-USA First Team in 2012 as a junior.
Height, weight: 6-1, 228 pounds
By the numbers: Fournette ran for 1,953 yards in 2015 with 22 rushing touchdowns after 1,034 yards and 10 rushing TDs as a freshman. Last season, he missed five games with injuries but still managed 843 yards and eight TDs on 129 carries. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry as a sophomore and junior. As a freshman, he also returned 24 kicks for a 26 yards per return average before he stopped playing special teams, given his enhanced role on offense.
Draft projection: Round 1
Draft positives: An absolute bulldozer when running downhill. Rare combination of power and speed. Can knock any defender in to tomorrow when he has a full head of steam. Pushes the pile, consistently falls forward. Functionally strong and powerful. Excellent pad level. Will surprise with speed in the open field, can get away from defensive backs in pursuit downfield. Can break off the long runs when space is there.
Draft negatives: Comes in to the league with some damaged tires. Has taken a lot of hits to his lower body. Missed five games due to nagging injuries in 2016. Often found limping off the field. Lacks wiggle and takes too long to turn his hips and alter his direction. Slow to react to clogged running lanes. Needs better patience.
What he says, on losing 12 pounds between Scouting Combine and Pro Day: “I didn’t really do anything different. My mom has been on me a little bit about what I’m eating, I just wanted to show everyone that I could lose the weight. But it really doesn’t matter. I’m a player, I’m good at any weight I want to. Some people had concerns about me at 240. They said at the next level it was different so I might be playing closer to 250. So I just wanted to show I could stay on course and be disciplined and get my business in order.”
Draft analysis by Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com