- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Although LSU came up short on Saturday, the atmosphere in Death Valley was as crazy as it’s ever been, and many of the nation’s top recruits were on hand to see it, including ESPN Watch List running Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine).
“Death Valley is a very exciting place,” Fournette said. Everyone’s screaming. You know how it is. It’s exciting there.”
The Louisiana native has been to LSU games before, but Saturday’s contest might have topped the list. It pitted two of his top schools, Alabama and LSU, and it came down to the final minute. Ultimately, it was a screen play, executed to perfection by the Crimson Tide, that won the game, a call that surprised Fournette.
“It was a very intense game that had two big defenses going at it,” he said. “Coach [Nick] Saban made a call. I wasn’t expecting a screen, especially at that time in the game. I wasn’t expecting it, so it was a great call by Coach Saban.”
On the receiving end of the game-winning touchdown was true freshman running back T.J. Yeldon. He finished with 76 yards rushing on 11 carries and 28 yards receiving, all on the one reception.
“He’s going to be an all-american as a freshman,” Fournette said of Yeldon.
Before the game, Fournette spoke briefly with Les Miles before the LSU head coach had to go into the locker room to address his team. He also saw fellow 2014 Watch List recruits Tony Brown, Speedy Noil and Gerald Willis III.
Fournette, a 6-foot-1, 232-pound running back, has yet to narrow any type of list when it comes to recruiting. For now, he’s focused on his junior season and the playoffs, which start Friday.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Playoffs come and there’s that feeling deep down in your stomach of excitement, and you’re anxious.”
On the season, Fournette already has rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns.