ORLANDO -- Seven of the nation’s top prospects will commit live during the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2 (ESPN, at 4 p.m. ET). Among them is the top-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/Saint Augustine).
Fournette officially visited LSU Dec. 6 and Alabama Dec. 13 and with just six days remaining until the 6-foot-1, 226-pound prospect announces, he talks about his recruitment and the decision to come between LSU and Alabama with Texas on the outside looking in.
Gerry Hamilton: Is there a coach or team that really impressed you during the recruiting process that you weren’t expecting?
Leonard Fournette: I loved every coach. Every coach stood out to me. Every coach really impressed me. At the end of the day, it’s where I’m going to be most successful and most comfortable at.
GH: Saint Augustine High has a lot of past players that have gone on to be stars in college and coach on the college level. Right now at your school, which schools do you peers talk most about?
LF: Well, you know we have three in college coaching right now that went to Saint Aug, [Alabama running back coach Burton] Burns, [LSU running backs coach] Frank [Wilson] and Coach [Derek] Lewis from Florida. So, it’s out of those three schools, but most kids at school say LSU or Alabama.
GH: What is something about Les Miles that you learned, or didn’t know prior to the recruiting process?
LF: He’s really outgoing. He’s funny, down to earth and keeps it real with you. He didn’t guarantee anything. He said you have to earn it.
GH: What is something about Nick Saban that you learned during the process?
LF: It’s the same with Coach Nick Saban. He keeps it real with you. He said there are a lot of good players [at Alabama], and you have to earn it here.
GH: What is your first memory of watching college football?
LF: I never was a fan of football. I never liked football until I turned seven or eight. I quit it when I was younger. All that running laps and stuff, it wasn’t for me back then. I just played outside instead with my cousins. I didn’t really even have a favorite sport.
GH: There is a different dynamic with your recruitment than many prospects. You have former Saint Augustine High players and coaches Frank Wilson and Burton Burns recruiting you for LSU and Alabama. How has that dynamic been for you?
LF: It hasn’t played a big part for me, but they both kind of know what I’m going through and have been through as far as outside of football. It’s kind of like a different relationship we have. They tell me to not worry about your recruitment, live your life and enjoy the years you have in high school as a student. They told me to have as much fun as a student as I can before it’s time to go to college.
GH: Is there an unofficial visit that you stuck with you throughout the entire process?
LF: Yeah man, Florida State. It was fun up there, the women up there and everything was just fun. It’s just wasn’t the school for me, but that was a great visit when I went in the summer.
GH: For the people that may not know, what is something about your decision-making process that is big for you?
LF: My decision. It is just something I want to get off my shoulders. Everybody has been nagging me about a thousand times. It’s just something that I can’t wait to get off my shoulders. That’s it.
GH: Are there any key deciding factors for you as decision day nears?
LF: Not really, just the coaches. It’s my job to have a relationship with the coaches. That is what I have been trying to do. I’m not talking about Leonard Fournette as the football player, but the person.
GH: If you were to sit down at a table and talk about your decision, who would be invited to the table?
LF: My father and my mother. Whatever school I decide, they just tell me to pray on it. Be sure and be comfortable.
GH: When you sit down the night before you decide, what put one school over the top?
LF: It’s wherever I feel most comfortable at. Wherever I really like it the most at.