Alabama Football: Will 2017 Tide dominate more top opposing players?

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Denard Robinson
ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Denard Robinson /
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Alabama football opposing player, Leonard Fournette
TUSCALOOSA, AL – NOVEMBER 07: Leonard Fournette /

Alabama vs. LSU 2014-2016

Toward the end of the 2016 college football season, reflected on Fournette’s LSU career.

"Fournette was one player fans could easily see played hard and played tough. Rather than shy away from contact, he sought it out through his 604 career carries when he was often hit multiple times."

As the Times-Picayune writer, Jim Kleinpeter said,

"Fournette has it all: power, footwork and speed, but beyond speed … It’s one thing for a big man to run fast, but Fournette’s ability to accelerate quickly allows him to blow past defenders and into space, where he is near impossible to bring down by a single defender."

The Times-Picayune is a homer newspaper much like the Tuscaloosa News.  Even so, every word quoted about Leonard Fournette is true. In his three season LSU football career, Fournette ‘blew past’ many single defenders. He rushed for 3,830 yards with an average of 6.2 yards-per-carry.

He did not get many of those stellar numbers against Alabama football. One of Fournette’s problems against the Tide was he was rarely matched up against single defenders. Alabama usually gang-tackled and smothered Fournette.

Against Alabama football, Fournette carried the football 57 times and gained 145 yards. Compared to his gaudy career number, Fournette averaged only 2.5 yards-per-carry against Alabama.

Leonard Fournette was a great college football player. Against Alabama football, he was not even average.

Fournette was a 2015 Consensus All-American. He finished sixth in the 2015 Heisman voting. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the fourth pick in the First Round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

The six players we listed: Lewan; T’eo; Hargreaves; Fowler; Garrett and Fournette were college football stars. With the possible exception of Garrett and T’eo, they were not over-rated.

Great players make their reputations in big games against the toughest teams. Alabama football does not always shut down great opponents. All Alabama fans remember the losses inflicted by Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel and Ezekial Elliott.

Next: 30 Great Tide Players who were 3-Star Recruits

More so than most teams, Alabama football often shuts down great players with team discipline its own roster of superior talent. In 2017 it will be interesting to see how three from the SI list fare against the Tide. Like the past opposing players we reviewed, Derwin James, Tarvarus McFadden and Arden Key are not over-rated. It will be fun to watch.