Bold predictions about stopping Leonard Fournette have been made before.
And they've failed before.
But Florida defensive end Jon Bullard, is giving it another try, anyway. The Gators travel to LSU on Saturday, and the Gators senior was actually highly complimentary of the LSU star sophomore who leads the nation in rushing with 1,022 yards. But buried amid the praise was the challenge:
"He's the best back in the league. We're just going to have to rally to the ball and tackle him. I don't think it's ... he's nothing we can't stop, but we all have to rally to the ball, because he's an excellent athlete," Bullard said, according to Tiger Rag's Cody Worsham. That Fournette is nothing Florida can't stop, of course, is the part of the comment that is all but guaranteed to end up plastered all over the Florida locker room this week.
The last guy to make a similar claim, of course, was Auburn defensive back Rudy Ford. Fournette ran for 228 yards against the Tigers a few days later, and Ford was roundly criticized for his effort on one particular Fournette touchdown:
Florida's defense figures to offer significantly more resistance than Auburn's did, as the Gators feature the No. 12-ranked rush defense in the country. Bullard is a big part of that, leading the team with 9.5 tackles for loss. He's also tied for second on the team in solo tackles (20), an impressive and uncommon distinction for a lineman. NFL Media draft analyst Chad Reuter rated Bullard before the season as a top-80 draft pick in 2016, which would place the 6-foot-3, 283-pound star within the first three rounds.
And if Bullard wants to go higher than that, he'll have his chance to make his case Saturday against the best running back in the game.