When is a football player ready to take the leap to the pros? Currently, an athlete must be three years removed from high school in order to declare for the NFL Draft. Maybe that is when the league feels that a player is both physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of playing in the next level. However, LSU running back Leonard Fournette is challenging these rules put in place through his play.
As a sophomore, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Fournette is playing like a man against boys, rushing the ball for 631 yards on 8.6 yards per carry with eight touchdowns in just three games. Meanwhile, suggestions have been floating around that the Tigers running back should sit out the 2016 season, preventing himself from getting injured and risking a high selection in the draft two years from now. Fournette has since shot down any notion of sitting out next year.
When asked about his stance on the Fournette situation, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson offered up an interesting perspective.
"Not to sound cocky or anything, or confident, but yeah, I do feel like I could have came out my senior year of high school and played in the NFL,'' Peterson said Monday on a conference call with Denver-area media leading up to Sunday's Minnesota Vikings-Denver Broncos game. "I really do. And I'll just say this, people were like 'well, physically you just weren't ready.' I came in my freshman year and I was up for the Heisman, had a pretty good season, was the leading rusher."
Freakishly talented athletes like Fournette and Peterson don't come around all that often. The league cannot set a precedent by allowing the incredibly gifted players an opportunity to leave one year earlier than their peers. It's a slippery slope and at this point, the league needs to avoid those as much as possible.
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