Former LSU Football RB Leonard Fournette praised by Bruce Arians

Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Leonard Fournette praised by Bruce Arians running back Leonard Fournette has had a wild football journey.

The New Orleans native was the No. 1 rated player in the 2014 recruiting class (247Sports).

There’s obviously a lot of hype that comes with being the top player in the nation, but Fournette was able to deliver.

As a true freshman at LSU, Fournette rushed for 1,034 yards and ten touchdowns. Those are impressive numbers for any running back in the SEC. They’re even more impressive for a true freshman.

Fournette took things to another level  as a sophomore in Baton Rouge, rushing for an insane 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Injuries impacted Fournette as a junior, but he still managed to rush for 843 yards in seven games.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Life was good.

Unfortunately for Fournette, the last several years haven’t been smooth sailing. Fournette had a solid rookie season in Jacksonville, rushing for 1,040 yards. In his second season, however, Fournette once again battled injuries. He was also suspended for his role in a fight during a game against the Buffalo Bills. Fournette finished his second season with only 439 rushing yards.

In 2019, Fournette was arrested for driving with a suspended license and a speeding violation. Prior to the 2020 season, Fournette was released by the Jaguars.

Tampa Bay takes a chance on the former LSU Football star

After Fournette was released by Jacksonville, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to take a chance on the former LSU star.

Fournette signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay. The former first-team All-SEC running back had to adjust to a new role with the Bucs. He wasn’t “the guy”. Instead, Fournette was a role-player.

But that’s a role that Fournette has embraced according to Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians.

“It’s very, very hard when you’re a superstar and you’re the focal point of the offense and you come to a team and you’re basically a role player for a while,” said Arians this week (via 247Sports). “It’s a very hard role to accept. I just told him, this team is special and you’re a huge part of it. Embrace your role – you never know when your role is going to change.”

“I’m really, really proud of Leonard and the way he’s handled it,” added Arians.

Fournette rushed 12 for 55 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers last weekend.

He’ll be a big part of Tampa Bay’s offense against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, but he won’t be the focal point.

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And that’s just fine with Fournette.