DITR: RB/LB Brendan Fournier, Vandegrift High School (Austin, Texas)

Brendan Fournier is a 6’1, 210 lb athlete from the class of 2025. This is a kid who is all in on the game of football. When speaking with him, he continually emphasized his love for getting better, as well as studying aspects of the game that most high schoolers do not. Due to this, he is already mentally above most prospects in his recruiting class. Physically, Brendan is also a very impressive and intriguing prospect. He most recently bench pressed 300 lbs and squatted 465 lbs. On top of this, Brendan has an impressive 4.58 second 40 yard dash and posses a 37 inch vertical. Brendan is just as stunning on the field. He is a big body who is almost impossible to bring down. His physicality and persistence means he will always get the extra yards while being tackled. His stiff arm is another lethal weapon he frequently uses. He has such strong arms that a single shove will send a defender flying. This season, Brendan put up 665 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns to be added to his 78 receiving yards and touchdown through the air. On top of his skills on the field, it’s what is not on the stat sheet that matters with Brendan. He is an absolute glue guy that makes the people around him better. He consistently pushes his teammates to excel, and holds himself and everyone around him to a high standard. On top of this, Brendan’s knowledge of the game is second to none. He spends hours everyday watching tape of great running backs before him, and film of his upcoming opponents during the football season. Brendan also spends most of his day getting better physically. He told me he spends countless hours in the gym lifting and working on plyometrics. All of this hard work is proven by his 1st Team All- District Award, and the Academic All- District Awards that he has won the past two seasons. His best game this season came against Round Rock Westwood, and he absolutely tore the field up. Brendan put up 152 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns as Vandegrift won 38-7. Brendan currently holds a very impressive 3.95 out of 4.0 GPA. A studious kid who only cares about getting better on and off the field, Brendan is a kid any coach would love to have on their roster.

What motivates you to play the game of football? 

Just the opportunity to go out there and play the game that I love with my friends and teammates. I’m with a great set of coaches so I get to become a better player and man.

What would you consider your best on the field attribute?

My best on the field attribute is toughness. I think I can take anything physically that comes at me on the field. If I get knocked down hard, I’ll keep going at you. If you give me the ball 30 times, I can take the physicality and keep pushing the rock.

What do you do outside of team training to get better?

I do a lot of lifting and running back drills on my own. I go to a really good gym called HCI in Austin. I normally go to the top level and get some heavy squats in and then move to the fields to get some plyometric mork in. During that I work on my speed and hops.

What are some challenges playing running back?

I think I’ll say staying confident in yourself. Sometimes it is hard to be fully sure of your performance or be fully ready heading into a game. That’s why I think its very important to know what you do and your assignments so you feel prepared. You have to be ready for the level of competition. The competition is always very good and athletic but so are you and you need that extra level of preparation to get your confidence fully up. It’s sometimes hard when you are a newcomer to the varsity level.

Who do you try and emulate on the field?

I’m a big fan of Christian McCaffrey, specifically his time at Stanford. I watch his college highlights all the time, he’s a dog. He’s so versatile in his game, he’s super useful in the receiving game, he’s a punt returner as well as being a great running back. I like him as a person too. He’s definitely my biggest running back role model right now. He just won offensive player of the year so I think that’s a pretty good fit.

You guys had that tough loss against Lake Travis in the playoffs when you lost by that last second field goal. This being the first time yall have ever been knocked out of the Texas High School Football Playoffs in the first round, is that really lighting a fire under yall to do better, and what are yall taking from that loss to go improve next season?

Were focused on ourselves and improving ourselves. We use it as motivation to push farther. We know it’s not about beating any one team or going a certain distance in the playoffs. It’s about playing the best that we can, and the results will come with that. If we perform to the best of our abilities and prepare like we know how, we’ll get as far as our preparation will take us.

What is your dream college, and have you been in talks with any recently?

I’ve been talking with the Yale running back coach, Navy, Princeton, and I just got an invite to the University Of North Texas Spring Game. If I had one dream school to go to, it would be Stanford because of the academic side and it’s just a great school.

Do you have a favorite personal highlight from your playing career? 

There’s one play that I really liked. It was a simple screen against Round Rock Westwood and that I got on the outside and took it for 38 yards. That was a big play that I think shows my versatility as a receiver and shows that I can make big plays happen. There’s also another play against McNeil where I bounce outside and stiff arm two guys on my way to a touchdown. There was another one where it was me and two guys on the goaline, and I run through both of them.

What has been your biggest improvement since you started playing football?

Definitely learning the game. At first, I was a hockey kid in Minnesota, I didn’t know a lot about football. Now that I have played the game for a while, I know how the game actually works with concepts and schemes. I know how football really works and I’m not just a player, but a student of the game.

You have a stellar GPA. What is your advice to athletes struggling with the football/ school/ life balance?

I just think at the end of the day, athletics isn’t promised but education is something you immediately get a reward out of. I feel like a lot of kids success in the classroom isn’t hindered by their actual intelligence but from their procrastination and laziness. A lot of the time it is hindered by the fact they don’t want to put in the work that is required to succeed. I think it’s a lesson to football as well. If you can put in the work and stuff that you don’t want to do, it translates over to the field and you can be a dawg.

What is your way too early Super Bowl winner prediction for next season?

Houston Texans are a sleeper pick for sure.