LSU superstar running back Leonard Fournette told reporters Dec. 16 he won't play in the Tigers' Citrus Bowl matchup with Louisville in order to rest his troublesome ankle.
"Just to get [it at] 100 percent," Fournette said when asked about his decision, which will end his LSU career after the running back announced he will enter the NFL draft.
"Leonard's been trying to leave since sophomore year," Texas A&M star Myles Garrett said Tuesday of Fournette's decision to sit out of the bowl game, per Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron spoke about Fournette's decision Thursday, courtesy of NOLA.com's Jim Kleinpeter:
Fournette is one of the nation's top playmakers, as he illustrated en route to scoring 23 total touchdowns during his sophomore campaign. While he won't match that eye-popping total this season, in part due to the emergence of fellow back Derrius Guice, he's still a crucial weapon for LSU.
The lingering ankle injury that will keep him out against Louisville has started to become a concern, though. Will Carroll of SEC Country reported the issue could eventually require surgery, as it's developed into a "chronic problem."
Guice, who's perfectly capable of holding down the fort for the Tigers, should handle most of the backfield work. Darrel Williams and Nick Brossette could also see some additional snaps against the Cardinals.
Ultimately, Fournette is a special talent with the opportunity to make a massive impact at the NFL level and made the decision to get healthy for the draft process. The injuries this season may begin to cloud his long-term outlook, however, though it's still impossible to ignore his potential.