“It’s a hard decision. I love college” | Leonard Fournette on the NFL Draft, rehabbing an ailing ankle and his relationship with Derrius Guice

Fournette: LSU’s draft-eligible juniors to meet with Ed Orgeron before Senior Day

By JAMES MORAN | Tiger Rag Associate Editor

Leonard Fournette didn’t go so far as to admit Saturday will be his final home game in Tiger Stadium — he didn’t deny it, either.

Fournette, projected as a top-5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, told reporters Tuesday that he and the rest of LSU’s draft-eligible juniors would meet with LSU coach Ed Orgeron ahead of the Tigers’ game with Florida on Saturday.

“The juniors, we’re going to talk about it, everybody that has a chance to come out,” Fournette said. “We’re going to talk about it as a whole with Coach O, get his opinion on whatever he thinks we should do.

“It’s a hard decision I love college. I love everything it comes with.”

Nothing that’s transpired this season has changed the foregone conclusion that the All-American tailback will turn pro following the end of his junior season.

Fournette has effectively been on a three-year track to the NFL since signing with LSU as the nation’s No. 1 prospect coming out of St Augustine High in New Orleans. He often looks like a men among boys on a college field, but he expressed some hesitation about stepping out into the real world.

“At the end of the day, man, nobody wants to leave college,” he said. “Nobody is ready for the real world. I know I’m not, to be honest. We’ve got to wait and see when we talk to Coach O.”

He added on what concerned him about the NFL: “They’re men. Playing against 36-year old … 32 (year-olds). Mentally, you’ve got to be ready.”

While he wouldn’t confirm it’ll be his last home game in purple and gold, Fournette vowed not to miss a Senior Day assignment against the Gators.

His ankle remains sore — the high and low ankle sprains that hampered him earlier this season never fully healed, he says — but Fournette planned to practice Tuesday afternoon ahead of taking the field on Saturday.

In the meantime, he continues to rehab the injury with LSU trainer Jack Marucci.

“I’m not a doctor,” he said. “I can’t really tell you the names of it, but Dr. Marucci and them does a great job of helping me out, trying to get my ability back, jump-cutting and stuff. It never really healed. I’ve been playing with it every day.

“I had high and low ankle sprain, and I had a bone bruise. Dealing with all that at one time, it’s hard. I fight through it.”

Fournette acknowledged the ankle won’t fully heal until he takes time off to recuperate in the offseason.

And if he’s hampered at all, the junior expressed confidence that reigning SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week Derrius Guice, as well as Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette, could handle the additional slack.

Fournette opener up about his relationship with Guice, his present understudy, who figures to be in line for a featured role if and when Fournette takes his immense talents to the next level.

“It’s more like big brother-little sister,” Fournette joked as laughs ensued. “I love dealing with Derrius, man. We’re two different people. When we come on the football field, we’re the same. I enjoy playing with him.

“Knowing him, he’ll probably get his feelings about (the comment), but he’ll laugh about it though. He knows where I’m coming from.”

The two often argue about who is faster, Fournette said. He pointed out that he’s never been caught from behind on a breakaway run while his younger peer has. In fact, Fournette said, he’d never seen Guice outrun a defense until his school-record 96-yard touchdown dash against Arkansas.

It’s a good thing Guice reached the end zone, too. Otherwise, big brother would have been waiting on the sidelines with some choice words for the back he says would start for any other team in America.

“Sad,” Fournette smiled. “Just sad.”

About James Moran 1377 Articles
James Moran was Editor of Tiger Rag from August 2018 to October 2019. He previously served as the associate editor since 2014. He is a graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism.

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