What 5-Star RB Leonard Fournette Must Consider During His Alabama Visit

Andrew Kulha@@AKonSportsSenior Analyst IIIMarch 14, 2013

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

5-star running back Leonard Fournette is the No. 1 ranked running back in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he's currently visiting the Alabama Crimson Tide.

According to Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com, Fournette planned to visit Tuscaloosa a few days earlier than expected:

ESPN Watch List running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) informed ESPN’s TideNation that he and his teammate, cornerback Jermaine Roberts, will both be visiting Tuscaloosa on Thursday. 

The duo was originally scheduled to visit last weekend but they had to move it back a week. When another conflict came up this weekend, they decided to move their trip up a few days. 

Andrew Bone of TideSports.com just recently Tweeted that Fournette and Roberts have indeed arrived at Alabama:

Checking out Alabama seems to be a logical step for an elite recruit like Fournette. The Crimson Tide are a college football dynasty known for winning national championships. They are coached by arguably the best coach in college football in Nick Saban, and are known for churning out star running backs behind big-time offensive lines.

For a marquee running back recruit, Alabama, in theory makes sense.

On paper, there's much more to consider though. Let's break that down with a good old fashioned pros and cons list:

Pro: National Championships

Coach Saban has built a dynasty and the Crimson Tide don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. With the way Saban and his staff recruit, Alabama should be dominant for years to come. The depth chart is loaded with talent that could easily start at other programs.

Once one star leaves, another steps up to take his place. Being the top team in the SEC usually means that a national championship bid is realistic, and Alabama is undoubtedly the top team and will be until proven otherwise.

Con: Depth Chart

Because of Saban's abilities as a recruiter, the depth chart is extremely crowded—especially at running back. Fournette is talented enough to walk into a program and get major minutes from day one. He has a tremendous combination of size, speed, strength and agility, and he has superstar potential.

If he were to choose Alabama in 2014, he would be one of many other running backs that I could say the same things about. T.J. Yeldon will be the starter until he goes to the NFL, and he's backed up by fellow sophomores (juniors in 2014) Kenyan Drake, Dee Hart and 2013 5-star running back Derrick Henry.

There's also current junior Jalston Fowler to consider. Below those players on the depth chart are 4-star 2013 running backs Alvin Kamara, Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones

Finally, as if that was not enough, 5-star 2014 running back/athlete Bo Scarbrough is committed to Alabama. Even with a redshirt, Fournette would be one of many on a crowded depth chart.

Pro: Saban Utilizes His Depth

There may not be a better coach in college football when it comes down to utilizing a talented depth chart. Alabama's running back depth chart may be crowded, but many of these players will see significant carries. 

Yeldon should start, but don't be surprised if Drake, Fowler, Hart and Henry see good carries as well (especially Henry as a freshman). 

Kamara could be utilized as a speedy change-of-pace back, Tenpenny is good out of the backfield and Jones is a pretty compete runner. 

Saban will get these players carries sooner rather than later, especially that first group behind Yeldon. 

Fournette would fit Alabama's offensive scheme perfectly. He could be a strong runner between the tackles, but he also has good speed, agility and can run through defenders. He could be an excellent goal-line option for Alabama.

Con: Other opportunities/offers

Fournette is ranked as the No. 2 overall recruit in the 2014 class according to the 247Sports Composite, so naturally, many elite programs want his commitment. Alabama provides him with a lot, but the same could be said for LSU, USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, Auburn and some of his other offers (247Sports).

The most interesting offer is from LSU in my opinion, as he is from New Orleans and he'd really fit the Tigers' scheme well. As far as depth at running back is concerned, in 2014 Jeremy Hill will be a junior, Alfred Blue will have moved on and Kenny Hilliard will be a senior.

Fournette could be a big-time backup option right away for LSU and then move into the starters spot once Hill moves on. 

That would be a huge opportunity for him, and the argument can be made that LSU can compete to be on the same level as Alabama in regards to national championship status.

At the very least, we know the Tigers will compete and be in that discussion on a yearly basis.


Overall, Alabama is a great choice and you can't fault a running back for wanting to join the Crimson Tide, but Fournette may want to consider his other options over the Crimson Tide—specifically LSU.

In the end, it's more opportunity for him, and it's not really a loss for Alabama other than the fact that he'll be on LSU's sideline.

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