High praise for RB Leonard Fournette

Updated: July 21, 2014, 11:25 AM ET
By Sam Khan Jr. | ESPN.com

HOOVER, Ala. -- Running back Leonard Fournette, the nation's top prospect in the 2014 recruiting class, hasn't played a down of college football but is already receiving effusive praise in LSU circles.

Tigers coach Les Miles invoked the name of six-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan when discussing Fournette at SEC media days Wednesday.

[+] EnlargeLeonard Fournette
Miller Safrit/ESPNLeonard Fournette, pictured at a 2014 Under Armour All-America Game practice, is making quite the impression at LSU.

"I think it's exactly where he needs to be," Miles said. "He expects himself to be something very special. I think if you look at Michael Jordan, he could not have been coached to be Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan accepted the role of expecting him to be better than any.

"I think he [Fournette] has a quiet confidence there that will benefit him, and I think we will always have an opportunity to play at that spot the running backs that are fresh."

The grandiose comparisons didn't stop there.

LSU senior running back Terrence Magee chimed in by comparing Fournette to premier NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings.

"Who wouldn't want to play in a backfield with a guy like that? He has been compared to Adrian Peterson," Magee said. "To be honest, I think it's the only guy that's playing the running back position right now that you can compare [Fournette] to."

Both Miles and Magee noted that Fournette, a 6-foot-1, 224-pound running back out of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, carries himself with an unassuming personality.

"Leonard Fournette is doing exactly what he should be doing," Miles said. "He's getting in the weight room, running, getting in great shape. Pursuing the classroom, got great grades. He's quiet. He's not assuming. He's humble in his approach."

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Added Magee: "From what I've seen so far, he's a very humble guy. Since the day he came in, he's been willing to learn from me, Kenny Hilliard and the other players on the team. I think he's going to handle it very well."

Magee also had some interesting comments on two of the most discussed topics in collegiate athletics this offseason.

Asked if claims by some student-athletes that they don't have enough to eat or enough money to eat well are true, Magee disagreed.

"There's never been a night at LSU where I went without a meal or a morning where I went without one," said Magee, chuckling at the end. "So I can't agree with that one or relate to that one. If there are guys on our team who are going without meals, I think we're a tight-knit enough group to where they can come to one of us and if they need something we'll give it to them."

In April, the NCAA approved a measure that will allow Division I student-athletes (both scholarship players and walk-ons) to receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation. The rule, which will go into effect Aug. 1, came shortly after former Connecticut men's basketball guard Shabazz Napier told reporters that "there are hungry nights that I go to bed and I'm starving."

Asked about the possibility of college players receiving additional money from television revenue, Magee said it's not something he necessarily is looking for.

The discussion surrounding the attempted unionization of student-athletes, schools providing "full cost of attendance" in their scholarships and the rising television revenue that schools and conferences get from their agreements with networks has led to an ongoing debate about whether players should receive more than what they currently receive in their scholarships.

"For me, I'm fortunate enough to go to a great university and have an opportunity to get a great education," Magee said. "So for me, the opportunity to play football in front of the best fans in the nation and to get one of the best educations that there is out there to get, that's payment enough for me. So us getting paid off of that [revenue] is not really a big deal to me. I feel we're getting payment enough in being able to get a free education."

Sam Khan | email

Texas A&M/SEC reporter

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