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October 13, 2012
The nation's top-rated running back in Class of 2014 will literally be on the run Saturday.
Leonard Fournette will begin the afternoon leading St. Augustine in a District 10-4A game against Warren Easton in New Orleans, grab a quick shower at Tad Gormley Stadium and step into a car and head down I-10 to Baton Rouge.
That's where Fournette, a 6-foot-1, 227-pounder will walk into Tiger Stadium for the first time this season to watch No. 9 LSU take on No. 3 South Carolina in a key Southeastern Conference contest at 7 p.m.
"I tell you one thing," Fournette said of Tiger Stadium, "it's crazy in that stadium."
Fournette got a first-hand account of the atmosphere during LSU's run toward a SEC title a year ago with two unofficial visits and the junior running back looks forward to seeing the Tigers once again.
Fournette's off to another solid start, helping St. Augustine to a 4-2 overall record but hopes to get back to .500 in league play after an opening loss a week ago with a loss to Holy Cross.
Not only is Fournette on course for another 1,000-yard season - he's carried 75 times for 847 yards with 12 touchdowns - but for the first time he's picked up the responsibility of playing defense at both safety and linebacker.
"I like it," Fournette said of playing defense. "I'm doing real good there and really enjoy safety a lot. The season's going good. The coaches are still learning the ways of the players but for the most part things have gone well."
St. Augustine's spread offense has also taken advantage of Fournette's ability to not only run but also catch the ball with 14 catches for 358 yards and 3 TDs. This season's rushing total has pushed the three-year starter's career statistics to 441 carries, 4,539 yards and 53 TDs.
"The spread fits me well and I'm doing well in that system," Fournette said. "It's been a good year."
Instead of making the rounds on the combine/camp circuit Fournette positioned himself for a successful season with an offseason in the summer dedicated to running, weight lifting and speed training.
Fournette managed to squeeze in one appearance at the Rivals100 Challenge in Atlanta in June where he performed quite well against Class of 2013 prospects and also attended his one college camp - LSU - in July where he spent several days.
"The camp was nice," Fournette said. "I had fun. I like LSU. I have a real nice relationship with (running backs) Coach Frank (Wilson). He's real close with my dad. I like LSU. It's nice over there."
Fournette has tried to place a strict dividing line between playing for St. Augustine and his recruiting process that will be one of the nation's more heavily scrutinized. With well over 100 scholarship offers going into his junior year Fournette marvels at the amount of mail that's accumulated at his residence and school.
"It's been crazy," Fournette said. "A lot of coaches have been calling and I've gotten a whole lot of mail. I've got so much mail. Just bags full and it's crazy. Mail, mail, mail and a lot of it."
When it comes to dealing with recruiting Fournette, a 3.5 student, says it's easy: His father opens and reads all of his mail and tells him to concentrate solely on academics.
"I don't read them," Fournette said of his mail. "All my dad told me to do is to focus on my books right now and that he will take care of that. I put God first in everything so there's no pressure on me."
Assuming the jammed-packed schedule doesn't encounter any glitches and Fournette's able to attend LSU's game it would be his second trip to campus in nearly a month.
Fournette, along with his father and younger brother, spent the better part of the day at LSU, hanging with Wilson for the most part of the day that included watching the Tigers practice in preparation for Auburn.
"That was real nice," Fournette said. "We got to watch the team practice and coach was showing me all the pointers the running backs get. He even showed me some of the plays the running backs run."
LSU's among the schools Fournette mentioned as programs he's interested in along with Florida, Alabama, Florida State and Oregon.
Of course, along with Wilson's friendship with the family, the Tigers may also have an inside track with a pair of Fournette's former St. Augustine teammates and friends on the team's roster in offensive linemen Trai Turner and Jonah Austin.
"I talk to them two or three times and week," Fournette said. "They're already recruiting me but I'm really just trying focus on my last two school years. I haven't made any decisions yet. My parents aren't putting any pressure on me."
HD video of Fournette in action in week two of this high school season versus Brother Martin.
Discuss this story and prospect video with other LSU recruiting fans