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Leonard Fournette: LSU's Adrian Peterson?

LSU running back Terrance Magee says, 'To be honest, I think he (Adrian Peterson) is the only guy that's playing running back right now that you can compare him to.'

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

When you're comparing one guy to another, you look at his skill set. You look at his body, his abilities, and his smarts. Terrence Magee is the running back at LSU. Last season, he ran for 626 yards and eight touchdowns. He's a solid back, one of those LSU-type guys similar to Steven Ridley and Jeremy Hill. But even he seemed to regard Leonard Fournette as a guy in a class of his own.

"Leonard Fournette -- man," Magee answered after a reporter asked him about a few young guys on the team. "I know y'all have heard about him, who hasn't? I think he's going to have a good year, he's very exciting to watch play and I'm looking forward to seeing him this year."

Hundreds of running backs over the years have come into college ready to play. Ron Dayne, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Dupree. All of these guys succeeded in college and a few have gone on to have remarkable NFL careers. But maybe none of those has been through the hype that Adrian Peterson has experienced.

Peterson was the No. 1 player in the 2004 class. No one was close to touching him. He went to Oklahoma, succeeded under Bob Stoops and has had a brilliant NFL career. That's why Terrence Magee's comments on Fournette were so shocking.

One reporter asked how long it took Magee to know Fournette was special, and that led him off: "It didn't take long at all, probably seven seconds. The power, the speed, the vision. He has the combination of all three. To be honest, I think he (Adrian Peterson) is the only guy that's playing running back right now that you can compare him to."

To compare a guy to one of the best ever is customary. People do it all of the time. But that doesn't mean they're always accurate.

"We're a team that will expect some of these freshmen to come in and play," Les Miles said. "Leonard Fournette and Malachi Dupre, C.J. Garrett and Brandon Harris, to name four freshman that we would expect to have a great impact for us this season."

LSU comes into this season a bit under the radar. With everything that this program under Les Miles has been through over the years, that's pretty shocking, but with no returning starting quarterback and more than 14 underclassman leaving the program over the last two years, it makes sense.

A quarterback competition is taking place, the defense has many new faces, and Terrence Magee leads at the running back spot. For now, at least.

Leonard Fournette will get a chance to show his stuff this year. He might have to lead this team on offense and he might be capable of that.

Standing in at 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds, you'd think he'd be a bruiser. Thing is, his vision and acceleration have prompted ESPN to say: "They don't make them this big and fast often at the running back position."

He's the x-factor for LSU. With a spotty quarterback position, the running backs and Fournette must take the load off and ease their way into the season. He has a chance to surprise a lot of people, and so does LSU.