Fournette might still take classes at LSU if he enters draft

HOOVER, Ala. -- Leonard Fournette wouldn't say he intends to enter the 2017 NFL Draft as an underclassman, nor did he deny the possibility, at SEC Media Days on Thursday.

However, the LSU star running back did suggest a highly unusual path to the draft if he indeed applies for early eligibility, as expected, after the season. He just might remain enrolled at LSU next spring even if he decides to enter the draft.

Most underclassmen entering the draft withdraw from school in the spring semester to dedicate their time to prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I might. I'm not ready for that world right now, so maybe. We'll see," Fournette said.

Juggling classes in Baton Rouge, La., with combine preparation would be very unusual for a prospect as highly regarded as Fournette, but certainly not unprecedented. Pittsburgh Steelers pass rusher Bud Dupree, a 2014 first-round pick who played at Kentucky, pulled off the feat two years ago.

Fournette said he's majoring in business marketing and is on track to graduate in August of 2017. A withdrawal from school next spring would disrupt that course, something that, for the moment, he'd prefer not to do. No doubt, if he enters the 2017 draft as a junior, his agent will strongly advise the more traditional course of full-time combine training. At least for now, however, Fournette is holding focus on a degree.

"I enjoy college. Everything's free, I don't have to pay for anything," he said. "I'm just enjoying college. I've been to school three years straight, all year round. I didn't miss a step; a lot of summer hours."

If Fournette remains healthy and plays as well this fall as he has over his first two years of college, he won't have much to prove to NFL scouts in a combine setting, anyway. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah sees a mix of Todd Gurley and Frank Gore in Fournette's running style, and analyst Lance Zierlein ranks Fournette as the No. 1 running back in the college game.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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