JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette became the fifth member of the team’s 2017 draft class to sign his rookie contract, the club announced Wednesday.
“Throughout this whole process you still have to go out there and work hard, but the only thing about it is you are working for money now,” said Fournette after signing his rookie contract. “Your mindset doesn’t have to change. Money is money, but at the end of the day, you come here to win. You come here to get better, to make the team better and make the whole foundation better. That is my main focus.”
Fournette, who was drafted No. 4 overall out of LSU, appeared in 32 games with 24 starts during his three-year career in Baton Rouge.
During his tenure with the Tigers, Fournette totaled 3,830 career rushing yards (fourth in school history) on 616 carries (6.2 rush avg.) and scored 42 TDs (40 rushing, one receiving, one kick return). Fournette set or tied 23 different school records during his career at LSU, including eight single-season records, five single-game records, seven bowl records and three career records.
“There’s a confidence about him, but it’s not cockiness,” said Head Coach Doug Marrone following the Jaguars’ rookie minicamp. “I think that in his background, when you look and you study what’s gone on at LSU, early on in his career it was a pro-style offense and then obviously they had changed coordinators. What I was impressed by was that through that whole process of getting to know him and interviewing and then trying to make sure to answer those types of questions, I was surprised at how he was able to retain what he had learned two years ago to come back with that. So I thought that was impressive, and for him to be able to verbalize that and verbalize what he was taught and verbalize what his responsibilities were. That put more of an ease to that question of, how has what he’s done the last year translate to maybe what you’re going to ask him to do?”
At 6’0” 228 pounds, Fournette has the physical stature to be a running back that carries the ball 20 plus times a game. Although Fournette was selected No. 4 overall the Jaguars haven’t handed him the starting running back job. He will compete for carries with a Jaguars backfield that includes T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory.
“You know obviously when we made the pick we’re thinking about he can be someone like that,” said Marrone when asked would Fournette be expected to carry the load early in his career. “Obviously he’s shown that ability, but in the same sense when you have the team, the one thing about a team is you have to earn that. So he’s going to have to go show that he can do that.”
When asked about his goals for the remainder of the offseason program, Fournette said, “Staying in shape, having the team come together as one, everyone on the same page, everyone doing the same thing, everyone moving at once. For me, my biggest thing is just the team overall, getting comfortable with each other. When things are not right outside of football, we can come to each other and talk about it. Building that loyalty and becoming a closer family.”
Fournette joins fourth-round WR Dede Westbrook, fifth-round LB Blair Brown and seventh-round selections CB Jalen Myrick and FB Marquez Williams as 2017 draftees to sign their rookie contracts.