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Leonard Fournette: "I love this team"


JACKSONVILLE – Leonard Fournette well understands the reality of his situation.

"I have a lot to show this season coming up, and I will," Fournette said.

Fournette will do his NFL showing with the Jaguars, who on Thursday night made the former Louisiana State running back the No. 4 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Fournette, widely projected by many before the draft to be the Jaguars' selection at the spot, said he didn't necessarily expect to be selected be the Jaguars and called the selection "very surprising."

"But everything happens for a reason and I'm happy," he said.

The Jaguars after the selection made it clear they believed Fournette's rare combination of speed, power and size made him a perfect fit for the physical style they want to incorporate into their offense and the entire team.

Fournette made it clear he felt the same way.

"I love the offense," Fournette said. "I love the way they run the ball. I love the way they try to get the best guys the ball. I love this team. With them, it's team first. …

"I'm willing to do whatever to help the team out. I know my running style will transport over to the NFL."

Fournette (6-feet-0), who weighed 240 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine in March, said he currently weighs between 228 and 230 pounds. Asked his idea of a successful rookie season, he spoke of a lofty goal for a team that finished 3-13 last season.

"Going to the Super Bowl, and helping out the team anyway I can," he said, adding, "All the individual stuff will take care of itself. I'm really focused on this organization getting back on top."

While Fournette is known as a power runner, with some analysts questioning his ability to make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage, he said he believes speed is an undervalued part of his game.

"A lot of people think for my size I'm very slow," Fournette said, adding with a smile. "They don't know I have the best time in track: 21.4 (seconds) in the 200 (-meter dash) and 10.5 in the 100. When I get on the field and it hits you, it kind of surprises them. …

"A lot of people think I'm a big, bruising guy who can't make anybody miss if I don't run them over."

Fournette, who forewent his senior season to declare for the draft, rushed for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns on 616 carries in three collegiate seasons. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry for his career.

He rushed for 1,953 yards and 20 touchdowns on 300 carries as a sophomore, then rushed for 843 yards and eight touchdowns this past season while playing through a preseason ankle injury.

Fournette was a consensus All-America selection as a sophomore, leading the SEC and the nation in rushing with 162.8 yards per game. He rushed for more than 100 yards in 19 of 32 games, setting or tying 23 school records in his career.

The Jaguars were among the teams Fournette visited before the draft, a process that Fournette said Thursday he is glad is in the past.

"I'm very happy," he said. "The long process of traveling and going to see all these teams – man, it was tough on me. I'm glad I have my home, my new family … I'm ready to play now."

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