Leonard Fournette first high schooler to win Corbett Award for amateurs

Before he ever makes his Tiger Stadium debut, Leonard Fournette has made Louisiana sports history.

The LSU-bound running back from St. Augustine has become the first person on the basis of his high school accomplishments to receive the Corbett Award, designating him the state’s outstanding male amateur athlete for the past year.

All of the previous recipients of the award, which was inaugurated in 1967, were current or former college athletes.

Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton is the female honoree.

Fournette and Hamilton will be recognized Aug. 2 at a banquet in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The latest induction class of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame, along with individual and team awards, will be honored at the event, which is sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Fournette, rated the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, finished his career at St. Aug with 7,619 rushing yards and 88 touchdowns, including 1,7902 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior when he led his team to a 9-2 record and the Division I semifinals.

Corbett Award selection committee chairman Will Peneguy said Fournette’s selection was a relatively easy one and was near-unanimous.

“The last two or three years, I have reminded people that the Corbett Award is not exclusively for college athletes,” Peneguy said. “It goes to the outstanding amateur athlete, which makes it kind of like the Sullivan Award for the state of Louisiana.

“Typically, this has gone to a college athlete in a major sport. But in my way of thinking, Leonard Fournette was the state’s best amateur athlete in his field of performance.”

Hamilton, a senior from Leesville, went 29-4 in leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to the Women’s College World Series.

Nine of her victories came against ranked teams, including both games of a doubleheader against defending national champion Oklahoma. She was named a second-team All-American.

Basketball dominates the Hall of Fame Class: former St. Aug standards Kerry Kittles and Avery Johnson plus former Tulane star Hal Cervini. Also being inducted are 15-year NFL veteran Lionel Washington from Tulane and Anna Koll, an all-around athlete of the 1920s and ’30s.