When the spotlight shines, LSU freshman running back Derrius Guice said he’ll be ready.
Guice grew up on Baton Rouge playgrounds and went to Catholic High School — the largest 5A high school in the state. He is a Baton Rouge boy at heart whose name now echoes through barriers beyond Baton Rouge and Louisiana.
Guice’s name resonates louder now more than ever as videos of the freshman breaking tackles and busting into the endzone went viral during last Tuesday’s closed scrimmage. It was one of the first instances people outside of Louisiana could see Guice’s running power, speed and strength fully exposed.
For the Baton Rouge community, it was just another highlight for Guice.
“I was a five-star athlete and the hot head in the town,” Guice said. “I am so used to this location, so everything that I did in high school just carried on to college.”
Guice wanted to come to LSU from the beginning of his recruiting process, but living in the same city for all his life has not been easy for the football player by way of stardom.
“I had to watch everything I did in high school,” Guice said. “You couldn’t act like a normal person. ... You just have to accept the fact that who you are now represents much more than yourself. You just always have to be aware of that.”
Through high school prominence and an illustrious football career to date, Guice now finds himself on the same field as some of the most talented tailbacks in all of college football. He represents one member of a brotherhood between the group of LSU running backs and the LSU football team.
The tailback crew is led by preseason Heisman trophy candidate Leonard Fournette. Fournette will get a majority of the carries this season for LSU, but he and second-string sophomore Darrel Williams molded rookie Guice into being a feature back himself.
“Right now me and Darrel are working on the young guys, trying to get them prepared for game situations,” Fournette said. “I see a lot of progress that’s been going on at camp as far as us and the young guys.”
Fournette will control the largest portion of the running game for the Tigers, but LSU coach Les Miles is confident the guys behind him will step up when their numbers are called.
“You don’t want to keep pressing the line of scrimmage when he’s tired,” Miles said. “So we’re very fortunate to have guys that can step in and play and play very big roles behind him.”
Guice is assumed to be the third-string running back on the depth chart, but he and freshman running back Nick Brossette will both see playing time this season.
Guice doesn’t acknowledge a competition for playing time between he and Brossette, but both await their chances on the field.
“We don’t really look at it like competition,” Guice said. “We are all just trying to do what we came here to do. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we contribute and help the team.”
In the end, Guice is a freshman college student and cannot support the weight of the LSU football team completely on his shoulders. But when his number is called, he said he’ll be prepared.
“Coach Frank [Wilson] always tells us this: He says to seize the moment whenever the opportunity is brought upon you,” Guice said.