A raging debate broke out online Wednesday morning: Should LSU star Leonard Fournette — a true sophomore — sit out his junior season to protect his NFL Draft stock from potential injuries?
Several prominent players, coaches and media members offered opinions on the matter, including Alabama coach Nick Saban.
His answer? Of course Fournette should stay.
Saban referenced former Crimson Tide star Julio Jones, who was in a similar situation after dominating SEC defenses as a sophomore in 2009.
“Julio was a very good player when he came here,” Saban said during the weekly SEC teleconference. “He started as a freshman. But he got better and better and better every year that he was here. I think the biggest question is: ‘How did playing his junior year in college affect his pro career?’ He might be arguably the best receiver in the NFL, or one of ‘em, at least. So how did that negatively impact him?”
Jones recently set a new NFL record with 34 catches through the first three games of the season. Fournette’s future stardom is a risky proposition given his position, but he seems well on his way to the Heisman Trophy ceremony this year.
Read Saban’s full remarks below:
— Alex Martin Smith (@asmiff) September 30, 2015