Leonard Fournette is doing things that have never been done in the SEC, yet LSU coach Les Miles believes the star sophomore hasn't even reached his potential yet. Experience-wise, that's certainly plausible. The Tigers' running back has played in just 17 college football games. Performance-wise, it's much harder to imagine improvement is yet to come.
"I think he's just getting started. He has speed, but I think you'll find that he'll continue to develop," Miles said Wednesday on the SEC's weekly media teleconference.
Fournette broke an SEC record with his third consecutive 200-yard rushing game Saturday. It didn't come against an SEC opponent -- Eastern Michigan, in fact, has the rock-bottom, dead-last rushing defense in the FBS (ranked No. 127) -- but Fournette's other 200-yard victims, Auburn and Syracuse, were more formidable to varying degrees. Fournette will have a chance to make it four 200-yard games in a row Saturday against South Carolina.
He leads the nation in rushing with 864 yards and in rushing touchdowns (11), and has averaged nearly 9 yards per carry. But statistics aren't the only thing carrying the hype on Fournette. Former Heisman Trophy winner and Georgia legend Herschel Walker said Fournette is a better player than Walker was, and NFL Network's LaVar Arrington compared the second-year player to another Heisman winner, Bo Jackson.
As a 230-pound power rusher who runs through tackles with ease, Fournette's readiness for the NFL has been a topic of discussion of late. The conversation has focused on whether he would consider sitting out his junior year in 2016 to maintain his health for his first year of NFL draft eligibility in 2017. NFL Media's Mike Mayock said opinions of NFL coaches and personnel executives would be split if Fournette were to make such a move, though Fournette himself has indicated he has no such intention.