In the age of social media, sports fans' memories are shorter than ever.
Let me remind you, then, of just how dominant Leonard Fournette can be. During the 2015 season, there was a four-game span when Fournette totaled 864 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 8.72 yards per carry. To watch him run was to watch the future of the running back position—a man fast enough to run by all but the quickest defenders, yet big enough to run over all but the largest. His 2015 performance against Auburn was nothing short of superhuman:
Fournette was hampered by injuries in 2016, but that didn't stop the Jacksonville Jaguars from selecting him with the 4th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Now, he's ready to showcase his freakish abilities on football's biggest stage.
Fournette's NFL debut has been years in the making. Before he even hit high school, the New Orleans native was crushing hundreds of Push-Ups a day. The mastermind behind his ferocious training routine was a man named Eddie Compass.
As the former Chief of Police for the New Orleans Police Department, Compass knew discipline and intensity. After resigning from that position during the turbulent aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Compass was offered a job as a strength and conditioning coach at St. Augustine, an all-boys parochial high school which covers grades 7 through 12. Compass was skeptical about accepting the position—that is, until he met Fournette.
Compass had the chance to put Fournette—who was in eighth grade at the time—through a quick workout. He expected the kid to tap out after 15 minutes. An hour later, he wasn't even winded. That's when Compass knew he had no choice but to take the job.
"I worked him out for an hour and he wasn't even breathing hard," Compass told NOLA.com in 2016. "We clicked right away and he looked at me with that little look and said, 'You gonna be my trainer?' I said, 'I guess I am.' That's how it all started."
Fournette knew he needed a hardcore trainer who was willing to push him past his comfort zone, and Compass fit the bill. "(I really started training) at the end of my eighth grade year before I was a freshman. Because I knew I was going to start on varsity. I had the talent, but I had to get stronger, I had to get bigger," Fournette recently told STACK.
Compass challenged the St. Augustine football team with some incredible workouts, often training right alongside them as motivation. Fournette knew that if he could keep up with Compass, he was bound to be successful.
"Doing like 1,000 Sit-Ups, 500 Push-Ups. He'd just try to make us break and I'd be one of the only guys not to give up, not to quit and to keep going," Fournette says. "Coach Compass would always have me come right next to him. I'd just compete against him, nobody else, just focus on him. Because I wanted to beat the man who gave us this workout and who was so good at it. So by 10th grade, I started beating him (and) I was very happy."
Fournette also regularly met Compass for intense one-on-one sessions. "He just pushed me more than he pushed everyone else because he knew I had the ability and the talent," Fournette said. The intensity during those private workouts was unrivaled.
"I put him on an elliptical machine for 15 minutes on full speed. Then I put him on this inverted sit-up machine I have; it works your deep core and we'd do five sets of 50. Then I'd put him on the pull-up machine and he'd do three sets of 15 Pull-Ups with 80 percent of his body weight. And I have the Perfect Push-Up bar, so I'd make him do 25 Push-Ups plus 25 Push-Ups with the stabilizing bar. Then I'd make him do 50 regular Push-Ups. All of that would equal one quarter, he'd get three minutes of rest and we'd do the routine three more times," Compass said. "And all this was all on his own time. The work we did was after practice or on days off. We did this in addition to the regular football workouts."
For those keeping track at home, that's 1,000 Inverted Sit-Ups and 500 Push-Ups inside a single training session—in addition to an hour on the elliptical and a massive amount of Pull-Ups.
Those hellish workouts turned Fournette into a physical specimen capable of making high school defenders look like drunken toddlers. He scored offers from nearly every major program in the country before committing to LSU. 3,830 rushing yards and 42 total touchdowns later, Fournette's an LSU legend.
While Fournette still possesses the same unreal work ethic he had in high school, he's since made some changes to ensure he gets the most from his training. His current diet is a far cry from what it was when he was a younger athlete. His partnership with MET-Rx has helped him avoid guilt-ridden trips to fast food joints.
"Instead of me going somewhere (to get food), I just eat the protein bars. That's my favorite, I eat them all day," Fournette told STACK. "I believe my eating habits have gotten way better. You gotta treat your body right and MET-Rx does a great job with that. (I'm no longer) eating all that fast food because if I'm hungry (now), I'll just eat a protein bar and get back to working out."
Fournette's intense training and smart nutrition has him feeling good about his rookie season. His goals for 2017 are about as lofty as they get. "I want to win a Super Bowl and a rushing title. That's it," Fournette told STACK.
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