Leonard Fournette has finally earned what we expected him to eventually receive when he stepped on campus in August.

More like, he took it.

At the regular season’s midway point, coach Les Miles named the LSU true freshman a co-starter on Monday after a season-high 140 yards and two touchdowns last weekend in The Swamp.

It’s an honor Alabama’s Derrick Henry, a comparable former overall No. 1 with a similar skill set, hasn’t achieved yet.

Fournette broke several tackles with brute strength during the performance and unveiled a spin move — known as the ‘B Button’ in both media and video gaming circles — at the second level of Will Muschamp’s defense during the second quarter.

He was able to grind his way to 5.2 yards per carry on a season-high 27 attempts, shouldering the load for the Tigers’ rush-heavy offense.

“(Leonard’s) a big, fast back who can push the ball,” Miles said. “He gets stronger as the game goes on.”

Fournette was the unknown as the season began, a 19-year-old rookie starting the season behind a pair of senior grown men, while Henry, a linebacker-sized bulldozer, was poised to explode in his second season alongside 1,500-yard threat T.J. Yeldon after an appetizing breakout performance in last year’s Sugar Bowl.

Based on overall production, Fournette’s made more of an impact through six games:

  • Leonard Fournette — 93 carries, 504 yards (5.4 YPC), 6 TD
  • Derrick Henry — 77 carries, 382 yards (5.0 YPC), 2 TD

Henry’s in fact regressed as the second option in an under-performing backfield behind an offensive line hampered by injury, rushing for the same number of yards as he did as a freshman despite 41 more carries.

With his name in the same breath as former Oklahoma great Adrian Peterson, Fournette’s faced a ton of pressure since his arrival in Baton Rouge. After a sub-par effort in his first game against Wisconsin, naysayers showed their face.

It didn’t take long for Fournette to make a name for himself however.

When did it all click for the 6-foot-1, 230-pound bruiser out of New Orleans?

Shortly after his first collegiate touchdown at Tiger Stadium, a 4-yard burst against Sam Houston State that was followed by a Heisman pose. Fournette was pulled to the side by Miles, given a lesson on sportsmanship and that was that.

“It is a little premature to launch a Heisman candidacy,” Miles said after the game. “He needs to realize, too, that this is a team. There were a lot of guys blocking for that run. We will make that point to him.

“He’s fine. I would much rather have an enthusiastic well-felt guy with energy that maybe is a little full of himself, but that is not all bad, either.”

Maturity hasn’t been an issue since as Fournette’s stepped into a leadership role and become the focal point of LSU’s offense while the quarterback situation’s sorted out by Miles and Cam Cameron.

Saturday night was Fournette’s showcase and the Gators his victim. Even more impressive than several chain-moving bursts and two scores was his willingness to bounce off the turf and back into the huddle after being rocked on a kickoff return late in the game.

Fournette caught Austin Hardin’s kick at the goal line with less than two minutes to play, charged up field toward LSU sideline and was quickly launched off his feet, SEC-style.

Withstanding such a blow reflected his tenacious nature and passion for the game, a rarity in rookies.

Fournette and Henry get a chance to settle the battle for underclassmen running back supremacy on the field on Nov. 8 when LSU and Alabama meet in Death Valley.