NFL | NCAA Football

LSU’s Fournette is the Heisman Front Runner… For now

Contrary to popular belief LSU’s stud running back Leonard Fournette has not been hand the Heisman Trophy yet.

Sure, the sophomore is on a torrid pace to shatter all kinds of NCAA records, becoming the greatest runner to ever set foot on a college campus. But let me remind everyone – there is still plenty of football to play. Four weeks does not a college football season make and Fournette and his Tigers teammates still have plenty of football to play. The Tigers play in the SEC West, where everyone is scratching a clawing to get to the top of the division now that powerhouse Alabama has lost a game and Ole Miss was soundly thrashed by the Florida Gators last week.

Fournette’s story is a good one – rushing for over 200 yards in his first four games, accounting for 864 yards so and 11 touchdowns. He looks like a man among boys on the playing field, reminding many of us of days gone by when Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson ruled the college football terrain, running over, around and through opposing defenses with ease.

Yes, it seems Fournette is that good. And because he is that good, there is talk he may sit out his junior year to avoid injury and maintain his draft status.

But it is still only a third of the season gone by. He might be the odds on favorite right now, but a lot can happen in nine weeks and five other teams in front of Les Miles’ team in the polls right now.

The SEC is not a one-man wrecking crew this season. Nick Chubb of Georgia and Derrick Henry of Alabama are solid, if not spectacular, this season and look to be sure-fire first round picks as well when they are eligible to come out for the NFL Draft. Henry is a junior and almost guaranteed to come out after this season where he could be a top 10 pick in April. Those kinds of guarantees put him in the race for the chase after he ran over Georgia last week in Athens.

It’s not uncommon to find a thoroughbred the media likes and locks onto him like he is the only one in the race. It happens that way most of the time. It was that obvious when Johnny Manziel was slinging balls all over the yard three years ago at Texas A&M and when Jameis Winston was taking the country by storm as a red-shirt freshman two years prior to now.

The best thing about Fournette, Henry, et al being this good this early is there is plenty of talk about giving the nation’s highest single award to someone other than a quarterback. Not since 2009 when Mark Ingram won the hardware from Alabama has someone other than a passer taken home the honor. And with a questionable crop of signal callers other than Trevone Boykin from TCU on this level, it’s hard to argue that someone behind center should be excluded from consideration.

Also something to factor in is the Ohio State stronghold.

As long as the Buckeyes are winning, Urban Meyer is pleading with the media and CFP committee and his team is ranked No. 1 in the polls, someone like Ezekiel Elliott or whoever is playing quarterback for the best team in the country is going to get major consideration, proving once again ranking and politics have a lot to do where nice guys happen to finish a college football season.

The Tigers have an “away” game this week against the South Carolina Gamecocks in Baton Rouge this weekend after the flooding in Columbia made playing the game in South Carolina impossible. Let’s see how Fournette does in the game and should he gain another 200 yards and eclipse 1,000 yards in five games, then we can seriously talk about the hype. Until then, there are four or four other serious candidates to consider. And I haven’t even started talking about the west coast or someone who could shock us all in the second half of the season.

For now, this is all fun and games. Once records shatter and teams knock each other off to remain unbeaten it starts to get serious.

Looking t Fournette’s stats and his will to lead the Tigers to victory, I’d say he’s heating up right now with a chance to be white hot when the cooler months roll in and college football’s race for the playoffs gets even juicier.

That’s when we will see if the sophomore can live up to the hype of being the best of the best of a pretty good lot to begin with.

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