Leonard Fournette's recognition leads to good-natured fun at LSU

As the nation’s No. 1 recruit, freshman running back Leonard Fournette knew he would get some good-natured ribbing from his new teammates — and they haven’t disappointed.

Fournette said he’s had people on campus ask to take a photo with him, which sparked playful reaction from some of the team’s veterans. “The older guys kind of mock me,” he said with a smile. “They’re like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Leonard.’ I just laugh at them.”

Fournette got a request from cornerback Rashard Robinson, who wanted to take a selfie with the star of LSU’s 2014 recruiting class.

Fournette said he politely declined. Robinson said that “hurt my feelings.”

“Leonard, he’s like my little brother,” Robinson said. “I call him ‘Superstar.’ I give him a hard time a little, but he’s a hard worker and a humble dude.”

Fournette’s only a fan of one team.

The running back said he never had a favorite football team — not in college nor the NFL — when he was growing up in New Orleans. But over the past four years that’s changed.

Fournette began leaning toward the Tigers the first time LSU recruiting coordinator and running backs coach Frank Wilson saw him play as a freshman for St. Augustine against McDonogh 35.

“We formed a relationship then, and it took off and has gotten better and better each year,” Fournette said. “I started to like LSU more and more, not LSU, but coach Frank and coach Les Miles. They made me feel at home, and they’re two great men who want the best for every young man that comes here.”

Return men

Could Fournette be one of LSU’s return men?

Yep.

Fournette and a host of other freshmen are competing for the open punt and kick return positions, receiver Travin Dural said Tuesday. Dural and Fournette are in a group of six guys in the competition to replace Odell Beckham Jr.

Those competing at kick return include Dural, running back Terrence Magee, receiver Avery Peterson and freshmen Fournette, Trey Quinn and Jamal Adams.

Freshman Malachi Dupre, Dural, Peterson, Tre’Davious White, Quinn and Adams are vying for the punt return gig.

There is no timetable to pick the starters. LSU’s preseason depth chart has Dural as the starting punt return, and Dural and Magee as the kick returners.

“We work them and watch them and study them and film everything we do, just keep evaluating them,” special teams coach Bradley Dale Peveto said.

So how’s Fournette look returning kicks?

“For a big guy, he can run,” Dural said. “He can really move.”

Cam’s call

Injured while playing summer league baseball, Jared Foster had just arrived in Baton Rouge from Michigan when LSU offensive coordinator Cam Cameron rang his cell phone.

Cameron wanted Foster, an outfielder on the baseball team, to return to the football team as a quarterback.

LSU’s quarterback depth had taken a hit with the transfer of three backups in a five-month period — Stephen Rivers (Vanderbilt), Hayden Rettig (Rutgers) and Rob Bolden (Eastern Michigan).

Cameron called and Foster took the bait.

“Came up (to the football offices) and met with him and stuff,” said Foster, who walked on to the football team as a freshman in 2011 before giving it up to focus on baseball in 2012. “Just kind of fell into place.”

Foster is expected to serve as LSU’s No. 3 quarterback, backing up Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris. He’s completely recovered from the oblique strain that cut short his summer baseball season.

He admits to never thinking he’d return to football.

“Kind of caught me off guard,” Foster said of Cameron’s call. “Glad the opportunity was available.”

Foster has two years of eligibility in football and one in baseball.

Harris the man

LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White knows freshman quarterback Brandon Harris more than most.

White’s been watching the quarterback sling passes and escape pressure for a while.

White attended Shreveport’s Green Oaks, about 15 miles from Harris’ school, Parkway.

“He’s very popular in Shreveport and Bossier (City),” White said. “He’s a guy I’ve known since my 11th grade year of high school. We always had a great bond. I always used to watch him play when we had a Thursday night game.”

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv. For more coverage of LSU football, follow our Tiger Tracks blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/tigertracks/.