Derrius Guice runs as if he’s angry and mean-spirited.
He does so out of love for his family.
Guice grew up in a poor community in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Guice’s father was murdered when he was a child. Guice’s mother, Beulah Guice, means the world to him and he would like to see her live life without a worry.
Guice has a 5-year-old brother he would like to see raised in a safer neighborhood.
That love is why he runs the football angry and possessed. It’s about setting his family up financially for the future.
“It comes from my background,” Guice said. “I don’t want my brother to be brought up in the same area I was. He’s 5. I want better for my mom. It’s all about my family. I want better.”
A year ago at this time, not too many people nationally knew about Guice. Then, he was Leonard Fournette’s backup. At last year’s SEC Media Days, Fournette garnered a ton of attention as a preseason Heisman Trophy front-runner. While he didn’t have the crowd Fournette attracted, Guice held court in front of a number of Southeastern regional reporters getting perhaps their first glimpse at LSU’s stud running back.
Guice stepped into a major role due to injuries Fournette sustained during his final season. And Guice made the most out of the opportunity.
Guice ran for over 250 yards twice – against Arkansas and Texas A&M. In a Citrus Bowl victory over Lousiville, Guice torched the Cardinals for 138 yards and a touchdown. His performances as Fournette’s-backup-turned-legitimate-starter earned Guice plenty of early praise as a potential 2017 Heisman Trophy candidate.
“I think that it’s lovely. That’s a huge compliment,” Guice said. “I’m grateful to be considered one of those. I’m very humbled to even hear my name brought up in the Heisman. My goals stay the same. I want better for this team. It’s not about me. I feel me being in the Heisman competition is a compliment to this team. I can’t do it alone. That’s obviously saying something about the o-line, the receivers blocking downfield, the play-calling. It’s just a compliment to the team. The defense gives me more opportunities to get on the field.”
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron is certainly a believer in what Guice can do during his junior season.
“He runs the ball like Warren Sapp played the defensive line for me at Miami,” Orgeron said. “He runs with an attitude. He's a great young man. He's here today. You're going to love him. He has a great character and has turned out to be an outstanding team leader for us.”
When it comes to college football’s other great running backs, Guice has only set a barometer against himself. He’s not concerned with Penn State’s Saquon Barkley or Georgia’s Nick Chubb. Guice is only worried about competing against himself to improve as a running back.
Dressed in a pink suit he purchased at Brown & Brown Custom Clothiers in Baton Rouge – one that he had to have after seeing it on a mannequin – Guice said he is solely focused on himself and his team.
“I feel like I run differently than everybody,” Guice said. “Me watching them, it’s really pointless. I learn stuff by going out and doing it. I can’t worry about looking about somebody else. That’s not going to help me learn. I learn stuff on my own. That’s how I pick up and add things to my game.”