19 rushes for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Those were LSU RB Leonard Fournette’s final stats from the Tigers’ 45-21 victory over Auburn. They’re the type of incredible eye-catching numbers that obviously give a pretty good indication of just how dominant Fournette was in Death Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Still, stat-sheets are often limited in their ability to convey the complete story of a performance.
Unless you actually watched how the powerful and explosive 6’1’’, 230-pound sophomore superstar rusher manhandled and overpowered the Auburn defense—shaking would-be-tacklers off like flies and piling up big-chunk run after big-chunk run—you couldn’t fully appreciate just how superior he truly was.
For the second straight week, Fournette made an SEC defense look like a second-rate JV squad, as he unleashed his rare blend of size, strength and speed onto the helpless defenders who had the unfortunate task of having to try to get in his way and slow him down.
It was a message-sending showing to everyone watching, especially to Heisman voters.
Though the 2015 season may only be three weeks old, it’s never too early to start speculating and trying to pinpoint which of college football’s elite stars have the potential to make a run at winning the sport’s most prestigious award.
At this point in the young season, there’s no other candidate in college football who looks as well-equipped to make that run than the former heralded No. 1 overall recruit from New Orleans.
Sure, Fournette has only played in two games, but in those victories over Mississippi State and Auburn, he’s outclassed the competition and made two opponents from what’s supposedly college football’s toughest division look foolish. He’s rushed for 387 yards and six touchdowns and broken more tackles than even the sharpest of statisticians could keep count of.
Once a man among boys during his high school career, Fournette has now managed to develop into that same caliber of mythical monster on the collegiate level.
Right now, there’s not another player in college football who has that buzzworthy, magnetic “must-watch” feel that Fournette brings to the table. He has that rare “put the ball in his hands and then wait for something special to happen” quality that you look for in a top-rate Heisman candidate.
There may be plenty of other worthy contenders in the race for the 2015 Heisman Trophy such as Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott, TCU QB Trevone Boykin, Georgia RB Nick Chubb, Michigan State QB Connor Cook and Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly. However, LSU’s gifted young physical specimen is the one that’s come bursting out of the gates and sprinted out to a large early lead.
Fournette’s captured everyone’s attention. Now it’s up to him to keep shining now that the spotlight’s focused on him.
Many say the Heisman has become a quarterback’s award (eight of the last nine winners have been signal-callers). Maybe, though, all the race needs is a special type of thoroughbred like Fournette to come along and show that elite rushers are just as worthy.