Fournette to Miss Bowl; LSU Career Comes to Close
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications
BATON ROUGE – Junior running back Leonard Fournette, one of the greatest players in LSU history, will not play against Louisville in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl as he continues to rehabilitate an ankle injury that has lingered for most of the season, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron announced on Friday.
“I want to send a special thanks to Leonard Fournette and his entire family for what he has done for the LSU family,” Orgeron said. “Growing up, Leonard wanted to be a LSU Tiger. He bled purple and gold. His senior year (of high school) he was the No. 1 player in the nation and he chose to play football in his home state at LSU, and for that, as a representative of the Tiger family, we are grateful.
“We are grateful for all the years that Leonard gave us, all the great memories, and all the great games. One of the most dominating performances I’ve ever seen as a coach were his against Auburn (in 2015) and Ole Miss this year. But more than that, Leonard is on track to graduate in May. Leonard was a great teammate, he came to work every day and he was a joy to coach. The players love him, little kids across the country love him and want to be like him.”
Fournette, who originally suffered the injury in August less than two weeks before LSU’s season-opener against Wisconsin, still managed to rush for 843 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games for the Tigers in 2016.
“First of all I’d like to thank God for giving me this opportunity and also Coach ‘O’ (Orgeron) and LSU for the decision to not let me play, because it is the best for my future,” Fournette said on Friday. “I just want to thank LSU for the best experience I’ve had. It was a tremendous feeling getting to come out that tunnel each and every game. It's a hurtful feeling knowing that we had the season that we had and not getting to play to my full potential.
“Everything happens for a reason. One of the hardest things to do is having to sit out and watch my brothers compete against a great Louisville team (in the Citrus Bowl). I just thank God each and every day for this opportunity. I wouldn't want to be at another school. In my heart it’s forever LSU. I appreciate everything this school has done for me.”
Fournette, a New Orleans native who was rated as the No. 1 high school recruit in the nation at St. Augustine High School, rushed for 100 or more yards four times in 2016 and briefly held the school’s single-game rushing record with 284 yards in an October win over Ole Miss.
Fournette finishes his LSU career ranked No. 4 in school history in rushing yards (3,830) and rushing touchdowns (40). His 119.7 rushing yards per game is a school-record and as his five 200-yard rushing games. Fournette ranks tied for third in LSU history in 100-yard rushing games with 19.
Fournette holds LSU’s single-season records for rushing yards (1,953 in 2015), rushing touchdowns (22 in 2015), overall touchdowns (23 in 2015), 200-yard games (4 in 2015), 100-yard games (10 in 2015), and rushing yards per game (162.8 in 2015).
He’s also the LSU single-game record holder for points (30 vs. Texas Tech, 2015) and touchdowns in a game (5 vs. Texas Tech, 2015).
Fournette was a consensus All-America selection in 2015 as well as being a first team All-SEC pick that year. Despite only playing in seven games in 2016, Fournette earned second team All-SEC honors.
Fournette earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times during his career, was SEC Freshman of the Week three times and earned National Player of the Week honors for his performance in LSU’s win over Auburn in 2015.
“We know this a tough decision for Leonard, but he has a bright future ahead of himself and the Tiger family wishes him the best,” Orgeron said. “He will always be an LSU Tiger and he will always be in our heart. He will always be one of the greatest players in LSU football history.”
I want to wish all of the best to Leonard Fournette as he pursues his professional football career. He's a great member of The Tiger Family!— Coach Ed Orgeron (@Coach_EdOrgeron) December 16, 2016