Less than 12 hours until the 2017 NFL Draft, yet despite the life-changing nature of the event, Leonard Fournette is incredibly calm. He doesn't have a sense of what team will pick him yet; he'll probably find out when his phone rings just before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announces his name in Philadelphia, but he doesn't seem to mind. Leonard Fournette is at peace.
"Whatever happens, happens," he said by phone from Philly. "It'll be easy for me [to relax]."
Fournette's state of tranquility is even more remarkable given the constant chatter that has surrounded him since he showed up at the NFL Combine weighing 250 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than his playing weight at LSU. Analysts wondered aloud if he was out of shape, and their murmurs got louder when Fournette jumped a disappointing 32 inches in the Vertical test. But after running a 4.5 40-Yard Dash and shedding 12 pounds by his Pro Day, the noise quieted, and Fournette is back where he started: a dynamic and powerful running back worthy of a top-10 pick.
STACK caught up with Fournette as he awaits his fate to talk about the chaos of the pre-draft process, his NFL training and how his 2-year-old daughter keeps him sane.
Leonard Fournette: It's more hectic. I didn't know prior to the draft you have to do all this traveling to go talk to these teams, go state-to-state and stuff like that. You wake up at 6 a.m. in the morning to go to the doctor [for a team physical]. After the doctor, from 7 a.m. to 11, meetings with all the coaches, special teams, pretty much anybody. Then you're on a plane around 2, and you're on to the next state.
Yeah, most definitely. In-season you're running and still practicing, things you know you have to do to stay in shape. But I've been able to keep my weight down by balancing what I eat every day and every night.
I've had to cut out cola drinks and stuff, McDonald's, eating stuff like that. All that I had to cut out to try and keep my weight down. I'm not going to say it was hard for me, because it's your job to be willing to do whatever for your body to be feeling great. So I'm not going to say it was hard.
Yeah, I always worked out, but when I got to LSU it was more advanced. There was a lot more stuff I had to know, technique-wise and things like that.
My daughter kept me focused in college. She kept me on the right path as far as right and wrong decisions. Every decision I've made is for her. It's to protect her and her livelihood. I owe a lot to her because she kept me focused and on a narrow path. It means a lot to me for her to be up there with me and enjoy the experience with me. She really doesn't know what's going on. To people, I'm a football star but to her I'm just her dad.