Leonard Fournette is already focused on the 2016 LSU football season.
That’s to be expected from the consensus All-America running back.
But allow us a moment to reflect upon Fournette’s 2015 season.
The sophomore from New Orleans set or tied eight LSU single-season records en route to becoming the first running back from the Southeastern Conference to lead the nation in rushing since 1949.
Fournette set another mark in being named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 2015 Headliner of the Year on Sunday. He is the first current LSU athlete to receive the honor since it began in 1999. The 2003 and 2007 LSU football teams received Headliner of the Year honors after winning BCS championships.
Former LSU star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won the honor last year after his rookie season with the New York Giants.
Fournette received 12 first-place votes and 85 total points. New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis placed second for the second straight year, receiving 61 points. Shreveport golfer Philip Barbaree Jr., who won the U.S. Amateur, was third with 29 points.
Fournette averaged 162.8 yards a game, nearly 15 yards more a game than the runner-up, Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama. Fournette finished with 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns despite having LSU’s season-opener with McNeese State cancelled because of weather.
He capped the season by rushing for 212 yards and four touchdowns in addition to his first career touchdown reception to lead the Tigers to a 56-27 pummeling of Texas Tech in the Texas Bowl.
Despite being so close to 2,000 yards for the season, Fournette gladly ceded playing time in the fourth quarter to his teammates.
“I got out of the game,” Fournette said. “I wanted (my teammates) to get a touchdown. ... Records are meant to be broken, and I may break it next year.”
LSU coach Les Miles said Fournette’s performance in the Texas Bowl was indicative of the season he had.
“This is a night that Leonard Fournette would have again and again and again,” Miles said. “I wouldn’t call it routine because he is not a routine runner. He is a special back … He’s fast and strong and capable. He’s one of the more competitive men I know.”
That’s why Fournette’s goals for the 2016 season aren’t related to yardage or being a Heisman Trophy candidate.
“Win a championship,” he said. “Win a championship with the team. I haven’t won a championship since my pop ball days. I was 7 or 8 years old.”
With the Tigers are returning 18 starters next season, including players who accounted for every rushing yard and 95 percent of their passing yards, Fournette may have a shot at his goal.