It's not as though Leonard Fournette wasn't already considered one of the top rushers in college football.
The LSU star managed to put himself in that conversation as a true freshman last year despite facing eight-man defensive fronts that had little-to-no respect for the Tigers' passing game. But the way in which Fournette embarrassed the Auburn defense Saturday with a 228-yard thrashing signaled much more than a standout at his position.
Fournette "would be the first guy picked in the (NFL) draft if you just say, 'Who is the best player?'" NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt told The New York Times. "... He's ready to play."
As Brandt noted for The Times, being the best player doesn't necessarily mean being drafted first because some positions are valued more highly than others. And few positions are valued less than running backs in the NFL, because their careers tend to be short, among other reasons. Still, Brandt compared Fournette to two of the most dominant rushers of their times: Adrian Peterson and Herschel Walker. NFL Media analyst Lance Zierlein saw something of Peterson in Fournette's performance on Saturday, as well. Of course, as a true sophomore, Fournette won't even be draft-eligible until 2017. NFL draft rules require that prospects be three years removed from high school, a rule Brandt supports.
The rule helps ensure that NFL rookies enter the league with as much physical and mental maturity as possible.
Fournette certainly appears to be building for success, in college and beyond.