Winner of The Main Event: Reuben Foster
There probably won’t be another game in college football this year that features as many future NFL players as last night’s contest between Alabama and LSU. It would be a major upset if both plyers, Fournette and Foster aren’t drafted in the first half of the first round this spring.
Watching Leonard Fournette try to carry the rock, his team, and any hopes LSU fans had left at competing for an SEC title against Alabama last night was eerily similar to watching Todd Gurley try to do the same thing for the Rams this fall. Both backs are competitive between the tackles and can grind out the tough yards for their respective teams. Both backs, however, are at their best when they break through the line of scrimmage and can use their elite power and speed to punish defenders on the second level and break 5 yard plays for long touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Fournette, nobody controls the line of scrimmage in college football as well as Alabama does. Their defensive lineman and outside linebackers tie up blockers better than anyone and their linebackers and safeties fill in the lanes faster than anyone in the country as well.
Alabama fans were hopeful that Reuben Foster could adequately fill the enormous void left by last year’s second round pick ILB Reggie Ragland. Foster has filled the void and been even better than Ragland. A lot better.
Foster is so quick at filling in rushing lanes that he almost dares running backs to hit the hole before he blows it up at the line of scrimmage. He is very physical and packs a forceful punch delivering blows to ball carriers. He is exceptional playing between the tackles and stringing plays out with his sideline to sideline speed. Foster is a true 3 down linebacker. He may be at his best playing the run but he also shows off his athleticism by lining up all over the field and covering. Watching him play behind the hogs up front doesn’t seem fair.
Foster had a nice game but wasn’t perfect last night in Baton Rouge. Reuben’s box score includes 11 tackles, half a sack, and another tackle for loss. There was a couple of times where Foster met Fournette in the hole and missed the tackle. There were also two instances where he seemed to over pursuit Etling in the pocket. On one of those two plays Tim Willliams slowed down Etling letting Foster catch up as the two ended up sharing the sack. Most of the night, however, belonged to Foster dominating the run.
Fournette seems to be the number 1 RB on everyone’s big boards. He happens to be a 1 or 1a on mine as he is in a virtual tie with FSU star Dalvin Cook. Fournette carried the ball 17 times for a miniscule 35 yards but that doesn’t change anything in my eyes. He has game-breaking speed and is just downright violent running the ball. He is an elite back that will be starting on Sundays next season, but the winner for this week has to be Reuben Foster.
While you are enjoying college football this weekend join NFL scouts by putting your grade on these marquee individual match-ups with draft implications. We will revisit the “Main Event” early next week to see who came out on top of their battle.
#7 Leonard Fournette, LSU, RB
#10 Reuben Foster, Alabama, LB
#4 Deshaun Watson, Clemson, QB
#2 Eric Dungey, Syracuse, QB
#18 Tre’Davious White, LSU, CB
#3 Calvin Ridley, Alabama, WR