With the 2018 NFL Draft quickly approaching, teams have their eyes locked on the top prospects of colleges all over the nation. One of these prospects is LSU’s Derrius Guice, who is currently projected to be selected in the first round.
The star running back recently partnered up with Hyundai Motors for a segment in the company’s content series called ‘Rolling with the Rookies’. The series included other NFL prospects as well, as Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, Texas offensive lineman Connor Williams and Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen all participated.
For Guice, the platform he’s on is something he wants to use to help people and further his cause.
“I like to use the platform that I’m on to really get my story out,” he said. “And the people with Hyundai came to Baton Rouge and did a great piece with me on my childhood and my background and what drives me to run angry. It’s been great working with those guys. It’s been an honor and a truly great opportunity.”
As one might expect, the adversity Guice faced as a child has helped shape him into the person and athlete he is today. But the trials of his young years are simply ‘extra fuel’ to him. He’s the same running back no matter what.
“My childhood has helped me, but regardless of my experiences, I’m still the same running back. It’s my running style — never go down. It’s a mentality. So obviously you know what I went through, and I do use that as extra fuel. But I believe that even if I hadn’t have gone through what I went through, I’d still run angry.”
Being a member of the LSU football team was something Guice didn’t take lightly, and he’ll miss being under the lights in Tiger Stadium.
“Running out onto the field at Tiger Stadium is my fondest memory. In front of 103,000 people. That was my favorite moment. I’d do anything to get that back, just one more time.”
But after living in the Baton Rouge area all of his life, the future NFL back is ready for some new scenery.
“It wasn’t that hard (to make the decision to enter the draft),” he explained. “I’ve been trying to get away from Baton Rouge.”
Guice’s reasoning for originally choosing to come to LSU over other options was to go head-to-head with the ultimate competition - Leonard Fournette.
“I stayed at LSU to play with Leonard Fournette in college football,” he said. “We knew what we were up against at LSU, and I wanted to compete with him and learn from him while he was here before he went off. That was what really made me want to come to LSU.”
Guice isn’t the only highly talented athlete — or running back - in this year’s draft. He knows this. But what he also recognizes are the strong qualities he possesses that set him apart from his fellow prospects.
“My personality and my attitude, and my approach to the game makes me different. I feel like everybody wants to go out there and just run.”
Sure, Guice is extremely confident in himself. It’s something you can sense just seconds into a conversation with him. But he understands there’s no recipe for instant success upon entering the NFL.
“I want to be able to watch greatness, then come in and reciprocate greatness,” he said.
As one might think, Guice has made quite a few connections within the LSU family throughout his young career. Who is he closest to today? None other than New York Giants wide receiver and LSU legend, O’dell Beckham Jr.
“That would have be O’dell. I talk to O’dell more than any other former player from here. He’s like a big brother to me. He’s always there, always reminding me to keep God first, that God doesn’t make mistakes and everything will work itself out. Just have faith and trust and believe.”
But Beckham Jr. isn’t the only person — or group of people — that keep Guice going. At the end of the day, it all comes down to a strong family bond. He thinks of them as his mentors, and their teachings extend far beyond a football field.
“My mentors are family, and they know what type of position I’m in. And we really don’t talk about football as much as you might think. They’re like family and we’re just hanging out before I have to end up leaving. It’s not just football and more football all the time.”
Look for Guice to be selected by the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions or Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks to Hyundai, who reached out to us and made this interview possible.)