9 Reasons No. 1 Recruit Leonard Fournette Will Sign with Alabama

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst IAugust 6, 2013

9 Reasons No. 1 Recruit Leonard Fournette Will Sign with Alabama

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    Leonard Fournette is a 6'1", 226-pound running back from New Orleans with a special combination of skills. Fournette not only has strength and power, he also has quick feet, agility, elusiveness and speed.

    Along with his great vision and instincts, Fournette can catch the football like a wide receiver. He is one of the best players to come through the recruiting ranks in several years, which is why he is a coveted recruit.

    Fournette will likely decide between in-state LSU and Alabama, according to 247Sports.  While the Tigers make a strong case, the Crimson Tide can make a stronger one.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals247Sports and ESPNU.

National Spotlight

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    Although Alabama is not in a big market, the Crimson Tide are in the national spotlight. 'Bama dominates not just the SEC, but also the national college football headlines.

    National college football shows always have a segment devoted to Alabama's program, and the Tide are the premier program in the country. If Fournette signs with 'Bama, he will receive overwhelming exposure. 

Intense Fan Support

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    Crimson Tide football fans are as passionate and knowledgeable as any group in sports.  They support the team with a cult-like following and treat members of the program like celebrities.

    Fournette will play in front of 90,000 people—at Alabama's spring game —and 101,821 in regular-season games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide always sell out their home games, and fans come in droves to watch the team on the road.


Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon

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    Alabama has had a great run of running backs in recent history. Mark Ingram won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 and was a first-round pick by the New Orleans Saints.

    Ingram's understudy, Trent Richardson, enjoyed a stellar career at Alabama and won the SEC Offensive Player of the Year award in 2011. The Cleveland Browns took Richardson in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.

    Eddie Lacy was the MVP of the 2012 SEC Championship Game and was drafted in the second round by the Green Bay Packers.

    Current starting running back T.J. Yeldon ran for more than 1,100 yards as a true freshman in 2012. He is expected to be a top draft pick in 2015. 

Great Defensive Talent on Roster Will Provide Excellent Competition in Practice

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    It is no secret that Alabama has recruited well under Nick Saban. Players such as linebacker Reggie Ragland, safety Landon Collins, defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, linebacker Reuben Foster, defensive tackle Dee Liner and defensive ends Tim Williams and Jonathan Allen have signed with Alabama in the past two recruiting classes.

    With defensive talent like that on the roster, Fournette will be challenged in practice, which will make him better during games. At no other school in the nation will Fournette find the quality of defensive talent that the Alabama offense has to compete against every day. 

Offensive Scheme and Reputation for Having Great Offensive Linemen

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    Two Alabama offensive linemen were taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. Chance Warmack went to the Tennessee Titans, D.J. Fluker to the San Diego Chargers.

    Starting center Barrett Jones was a fourth-round pick by the St. Louis Rams. Current left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is regarded as a future elite NFL prospect.

    Alabama always has excellent offensive linemen, as its offensive scheme is based on a dominant rushing attack. The Tide do not always run downhill power plays, as they can also beat front-seven alignments with zone-blocking schemes.

    Signing with a school known for running the ball behind great offensive linemen would be appealing to any running back in the country, including Fournette. 

Offensive Talent on the Roster to Take Pressure off Him

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    Fournette will not have to do it by himself at Alabama, as the Tide have added more offensive firepower to their roster.

    Receivers such as Amari Cooper, Robert Foster, ArDarius Stewart and Chris Black are all great young talents. Tight end O.J. Howard was one of the top players at his position in 2013, and Alabama also signed quarterback Cooper Bateman last year.

    2014 quarterback David Cornwell is also pledged to Alabama, and 2015 quarterback Ricky Town committed to the Tide on August 5, according to Max Olson of ESPN.com. 


He's Better Than the 4 2013 Running Back Recruits Who Signed with 'Bama

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    Alabama signed Tyren Jones, Altee Tenpenny, Derrick Henry and Alvin Kamara in 2013. All four running backs are terrific talents, as they could have gone to another school and started as true freshmen. 

    However, Fournette is better than all of them. He is a rare talent who has the ability to come in next year and immediately earn more carries than all of them.


Nick Saban

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    Nick Saban is the best coach in college football. He runs his program well, has a great understanding of X's and O's and also is an elite recruiter.

    Recruits know that when they sign with Saban, they are signing up to be coached hard, developed properly and win a ton of games. Saban also casts a large shadow in college football, and many recruits are drawn to him.

Winning and NFL

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    Alabama has seen more than 30 of its players be drafted by NFL teams since Saban took over for the 2008 season. The program is viewed as a conduit to the pros by recruits, and Fournette likely has the same aspirations.

    Alabama is the two-time defending BCS national champion and will be in position to contend for another national title in 2013.

    The roster is so talented that Alabama will be able to compete for SEC and national titles throughout Fournette's tenure.

    Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.