Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer 359d

Jamal Adams, Leonard Fournette ready to geaux at it again

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The competition started on LSU's first day of practice in 2014. It was freshman vs. freshman, a couple of five-star recruits trying to send a message to the other.

It ended with one of them seeing stars.

Running back Leonard Fournette, tired of hearing about this hot-shot safety from Texas, got the ball, accelerated to ramming speed and ran over Jamal Adams. Then, as Fournette told it later in a TV interview: "The next play, man, he came out of nowhere and lit me up. I don't think anybody ever hit me like that."

On Wednesday, Adams smiled when asked about his practice battles against Fournette.

"Nothing but collisions," he said. "He got me, I got him and we went back and forth."

The former teammates and good friends will renew their rivalry Sunday at MetLife Stadium, where the New York Jets meet the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that figures to be must-see TV in the Bayou. Adams was drafted sixth overall by the Jets, Fournette fourth overall by the Jaguars -- the first LSU players since 2007 to be picked in the top 10.

Yes, they will see a lot of each other. The Jets probably will use an eight-man box against Fournette, with Adams likely to be deployed in a linebacker-type role. Because of Fournette, the Jaguars have faced more eight-man fronts than any team in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"It's friendly competition," Adams said. "When we're on the field, we go at it. It's been like that since our LSU days. We feed off each other, so it's going to be a great matchup."

Adams called Fournette "an outstanding running back, one of the best players I've ever played with." The Jaguars expect him to be a franchise running back. Fournette has scored three touchdowns, but he hasn't had any breakout games -- or runs, for that matter. He's averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, 199 yards on 57 attempts. He hasn't had a run longer than 17 yards.

With a mediocre quarterback and no game-changers on the perimeter, Fournette is discovering what it's like to be a marked man. He'll get plenty of attention from the Jets, who probably will use the same game plan that worked so well last Sunday against the Miami Dolphins: Overplay the run, dare the quarterback to beat them.

Adams played his best game last week, finishing with two tackles-for-loss, one sack and one pass break-up.

"He's everywhere," Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said.

The Jaguars were high on Adams in the draft. At the time, top executive Tom Coughlin said he was one of four players they coveted with the fourth pick. With Myles Garrett, Mitchell Trubisky and Solomon Thomas off the board, they opted for Fournette. They did the Jets a favor, because New York never expected Adams to slip to sixth.

Adams was named a starter on Day 1 and hasn't disappointed.

"Three games, I wouldn't put him in the Hall of Fame or anything," said coach Todd Bowles, perhaps trying to tamp down expectations.

Adams, the son of former NFL player George Adams, has faced huge expectations his entire life. In 2014, he was the No. 31 recruit in the country, according to

On Sunday, he'll meet up with No. 1. The ground may shake.

^ Back to Top ^