SEC’s top impact newcomers of 2014: No. 1 Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB

Steve Dykes/USA Today

SDS will rank the SEC’s potential instant impact newcomers–using the month of March–by ranking them No. 31 down to No. 1. Today we look at LSU’s Leonard Fournette. This gives our readers an idea of which 2014 signees we believe will step up in the fall and possibly contribute in a big way. Junior college prospects are always players to keep an eye on, obviously, as they’ve already played college ball … and high school prospects at certain positions sometimes flourish early.

Here’s a look at who we think has the ability to step into a good situation and be in for key snaps, and be sure and check out the SEC countdown of impact newcomers at the bottom.

No. 1 – Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB

HOMETOWN: New Orleans (La.)
SIZE: 6-1/225
RANK: Five-star prospect; No. 1 overall prospect in America.

THE SKINNY: OK, this wasn’t that hard a pick … and just about everybody else who writes stories like this has Fournette at the top of the list too. He already has an NFL running back’s build, and considering his incredibly humble actions in times in high school (his appreciation for his teammates, declining awards in honor of players for the opposition) it just seems obvious that he’s not going to trip himself up either, off the field. Fournette rushed for nearly 8,000 career yards and nearly 100 touchdowns, and another impressive thing is how well he catches the ball out of the backfield. His senior year he proved he’s as good as it gets. Remember how Marcus Lattimore dominated the SEC as a true freshman? Get ready for it again.

WHERE HE’LL MAKE AN IMPACT: Fournette has NFL-level size, NFL-level speed and he has a good head on his shoulders. Not only is he going to dominate in college, he’s going to make quick work of the experience and will be one of the top draft picks in the spring of 2017. Count on it.

FOURNETTE SAYS: “I’m ready to get in Tigerland and grind. Nothing is given to you. You have to go out and earn it. I’m going to go out there as a regular freshman and work my way up.”

COACH SAYS: “Well, as a running back, the inhibitor for the running back generally speaking is if he’s got great speed he’s not very big. If he’s very, very big, he doesn’t have great speed. Basically you take the big back and you trim him up and get him faster. And you take the small back and you build him up and hopefully you don’t get him slower. For Fournette it’s size and speed and ball skills and great vision. And he’s a guy that will step in and play.” — LSU coach Les Miles

Editor’s note: Saturday Down South’s references to ratings follow the composite rankings for high school prospects.

Other impact newcomers:

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