August 1, 2013
According to Kipp Adams of 247Sports.com, who cites Fournette's father, the 5-star running back has chosen Alabama, USC, Michigan, Florida and probably Miami as the schools that he'd like to officially visit.
LSU is the notable program missing from the list, but as Adams pointed out, Fournette has unofficially visited the Tigers multiple times and is from New Orleans. There may not be much reason for him to burn an official visit at LSU, especially if he wants to check out a few other programs. Sometimes, half the appeal of an official visit is being able to go somewhere you normally wouldn't.
Here are some thoughts on each school that Fournette is looking at for officials:
It feels like Miami could end up being a vacation destination. This is really the first notable time that Miami has been mentioned alongside the nation's top running back recruit, and who would blame Fournette for wanting to visit South Florida?
That's not to say Al Golden and his staff don't have something to offer, mainly a solid class to join, but it definitely feels like Miami is the big outlier here.
A similar case could be made with USC, but the Trojans do have a bit more going for them. Despite its struggles as of late, USC is one of the more notable programs in college football, and the allure of the campus, facilities and Southern California in general can't be denied. In fact, Fournette had this to say about USC, per Adams:
“The weather was so nice compared to how humid it is at home,” Fournette said. “The coaches at every position were really cool at USC too.”
His father added that based on facilities, the Trojans boast the best campus the Fournette family has seen to date. USC has been in the process of major facilities and campus upgrades.
Next up is Alabama, which has pretty stellar football facilities as well. Rather than overthink things here, let's just call it what it is. Fournette could play for the best coach in college football, in a program known for sending running backs to the NFL and winning national championships.
Also, according to Adams' report, 'Bama running backs coach Burton Burns graduated from Fournette's high school: St. Augustine.
The Crimson Tide's chart is stacked at running back, but that's something Nick Saban addressed with Fournette, per Adams.
“Coach Saban keeps it real with me,” Fournette said. “He says ‘I do not need you but I want you’ and that really stuck with me."
The Wolverines seemingly took a hit when Fournette no-showed their annual barbecue, but they're still in the race. Adams reports that preparations for the season ahead hindered Fournette from heading to Ann Arbor. At Michigan, Fournette could team up with 2013 5-star back Derrick Green and really spearhead the transition to the pro-style offense for coach Brady Hoke.
Michigan will be a contender in the Big Ten, and the folks in Ann Arbor feel a national championship is right around the corner. Fournette could be the catalyst player that gets the program there, along with Peppers, so there is a lot to like about the Wolverines.
To say that Florida is an outlier would be foolish on my part, but the Gators seem to be on the outside looking in so far.
That said, Florida would provide him with an SEC environment, great defensive support and a few good running backs to tag team with, including 2013 5-star running back Kelvin Taylor. If he signs in February, you can add 5-star Dalvin Cook to that group as well.
If Fournette was to commit to Florida, the Gators would boast elite running backs and a potentially elite defense. That's a winning combination in the SEC.
Here's how I would rank the schools scheduled to receive officials (plus LSU) in regard to their chances of landing Fournette. What do you think? Sound off in the comments.
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