The LSU football team has historically made its name off hard running, elusive backs. This season looks to be much of the same as the Tigers boast one of the deepest and most talented running back corps in the country.
LSU comes into the 2014 season with a battery of experienced running backs, including seniors Terrence Magee and Kenny Hilliard, while also featuring true freshman sensation Leonard Fournette.
Fournette, the first-year player of out St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, is one of the highest-touted recruits to ever attend LSU.
He was ranked by ESPN and Scout.com as the No. 1 overall recruit in the nation. The 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound freshman finished his high school career with 7,619 rushing yards and 88 rushing touchdowns.
His accolades have already earned him comparisons from LSU coach Les Miles to premier athletes like NFL running back Adrian Peterson or NBA legend Michael Jordan.
“I haven’t proved myself yet,” Fournette said. “So I just laugh at [those expectations] like it’s a joke, but you know, I thank Les Miles for the confidence boost.”
Everyone is on the Fournette bandwagon, including his own teammates. Both Magee and Hilliard said they believe Fournette can make a huge impact at LSU, and they aren’t against the idea of splitting reps between the running backs.
Magee and Hilliard are two of the most experienced players on this LSU offense. Magee has played in 27 games as a Tiger, while Hilliard has played in an offensive high of 37 with a combined 30 rushing touchdowns to their names.
That experience will prove to be pivotal to the Tigers’ success running the ball as they make it their goal to not only produce on the field but also be role models to newcomers like Fournette and freshman Darrel Williams.
But with all the talent LSU has at the position, it’s hard to say just how many more reps one back will get than the other.
“This system is meant to be rotating in and out different backs for different situations,” Hilliard said. “It’s going to continue to be that way, and whoever goes in there and catches fire real fast, that’s the person that’ll really stay into the game.”
You can reach Jack Chascin on Twitter @Chascin_TDR.