JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars RB and fourth overall selection Leonard Fournette from Louisiana State University became the fifth member of the team’s 2017 draft class to sign his rookie contract, the club announced today.
“Throughout this whole process you still have to go out there and work hard, but the only thing about it is you are working for money now,” said Fournette after signing his rookie contract. “Your mindset doesn’t have to change. Money is money, but at the end of the day, you come here to win. You come here to get better, to make the team better and make the whole foundation better. That is my main focus.”
Fournette, 6-0, 228, appeared in 32 games with 24 starts during his three-year career in Baton Rouge. During his tenure with the Tigers, Fournette totaled 3,830 career rushing yards (fourth in school history) on 616 carries (6.2 rush avg.) and scored 42 TDs (40 rushing, one receiving, one kick return). Fournette set or tied 23 different school records during his career at LSU, including eight single-season records, five single-game records, seven bowl records and three career records.
When asked about his goals for the remainder of the offseason program, Fournette said, “Staying in shape, having the team come together as one, everyone on the same page, everyone doing the same thing, everyone moving at once. For me, my biggest thing is just the team overall, getting comfortable with each other. When things are not right outside of football, we can come to each other and talk about it. Building that loyalty and becoming a closer family.”
Fournette’s 155.7 all-purpose yards per game average is the second-highest in school history. Fournette’s three career records at LSU include his 119.7 rushing yards per game, his five 200-yard rushing games and his nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Fournette, who is the only player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, is the fastest player in LSU history to reach 2,000 and 3,000 career rushing yards. A native of New Orleans, La., Fournette was a four-year starting RB at St. Augustine High School, where he earned USA Today National Offensive Player of the Year honors after concluding his career with 7,619 rushing yards and 88 rushing TDs. Fournette will wear No. 27 for the Jaguars.
“There’s a confidence about him, but it’s not cockiness,” said Head Coach Doug Marrone following the Jaguars’ rookie minicamp. “I think that in his background, when you look and you study what’s gone on at LSU, early on in his career it was a pro-style offense and then obviously they had changed coordinators. What I was impressed by was that through that whole process of getting to know him and interviewing and then trying to make sure to answer those types of questions, I was surprised at how he was able to retain what he had learned two years ago to come back with that. So I thought that was impressive, and for him to be able to verbalize that and verbalize what he was taught and verbalize what his responsibilities were. That put more of an ease to that question of, how has what he’s done the last year translate to maybe what you’re going to ask him to do?”
Since juniors were allowed to enter the draft in 1990, the Jaguars have taken 27 underclassmen, including Fournette and second-round (34th overall) OT Cam Robinson in this year’s draft. The Jaguars have drafted an underclassman in 12 of the last 14 drafts and have selected an underclassman in the first round in five consecutive years (LT Luke Joeckel in 2013, QB Blake Bortles in 2014, DE Dante Fowler Jr. in 2015, CB Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and Fournette in 2017).
“I think Leonard is going to be a great asset to our team,” said Jaguars General Manager Dave Caldwell during Fournette’s introductory press conference. “We think he’s a special player, but we also think he’s a special person.”
Fournette joins fourth-round WR Dede Westbrook, fifth-round LB Blair Brown and seventh-round selections CB Jalen Myrick and FB Marquez Williams as 2017 draftees to sign their rookie contracts.