Derrius Guice Is A Stud Running Back And Could Be The Next Early Running Back Off The Board In The NFL Draft.
If you have been paying attention to college football or next year’s NFL draft at all, you probably have had some exposure to LSU running back Derrius Guice. If you haven’t seen anything of him, take some time to watch some of his tape, and prepare yourself for a treat. Listed at 5’11” and 212 pounds, Guice is a load to bring down and is electric in the open field.
Derrius Guice had a tough childhood before reaching LSU. Nothing came easy for him, and he has worked hard to get where he is. Running behind Leonard Fournette for the majority of his college career, he hasn’t had the opportunity to shoulder a full workload, but he has made the most of those opportunities. As a freshman, he averaged 8.5 yards per carry on 51 attempts. In his sophomore year, when Fournette went down with injury, Guice finally had the chance to be the lead back for a time. He rushed for 1387 on 183 carries, good for 7.6 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns.
Cory Hayes took a look at the long list of potential LSU draft candidates. Derrius Guice shines amongst this very talented group. Leonard Fournette was the fourth overall pick in this past NFL Draft. Derrius Guice may be a better prospect when all is said and done.
Derrius Guice has some of the best vision in college football right now. His ability to find a hole, make cutbacks across multiple gaps, and read and utilize his blockers is among the best of the running backs that I’ve looked at. He processes plays quickly and has exceptional ability to anticipate incoming defenders at the line of scrimmage and react to them. At the second level, Derrius Guice knows how to play defenders to his blockers. He consistently will set up defenders and cut back behind a blocker to leave players neutralized. He seems to see the entire field and all of the moving parts around him on a consistent basis and knows exactly how to exploit a defense.
Derrius Guice has a special running style. He runs with both patience and aggressiveness simultaneously, never having to choose between the two. It is a unique brand of controlled aggressiveness and deceiving patience that you won’t find with many other running backs. When you watch for Guice’s willingness to hit a hole and gain positive yards quickly, the first thing you notice is that he is always moving forward. Guice is always moving upfield.
He frequently makes lateral cuts behind the line of scrimmage and at the second level, but continues upfield in a seamless manner. He is explosive enough that he can go from running full speed to the line of scrimmage, cut back across the line and continue upfield while never seeming to lose his forward momentum. This is invaluable to his game. You don’t see Guice dancing around waiting for a play to develop. You don’t see him getting overaggressive at the line of scrimmage. He just keeps moving forward, gaining positive yards and uses his elite lateral agility to make adjustments on the fly.
Derrius Guice has the elite ability to make yards for himself in the backfield. When plays break down, and defenders get into the backfield, Guice has the ability to win in multiple ways. He possesses excellent anticipation and is usually ready to make a cut before he takes the handoff. Guice frequently takes the handoff, immediately makes a man miss, and continues the play as it was designed. He also has excellent power and can fight through tackles to get back to the line of scrimmage. There are few backs in college football on his level in terms of being able to create yards for himself in the backfield. He can do it with power and he can do it with his anticipation and explosiveness.
Derrius Guice has above average body control. His running style is deliberate. Everything seems methodical and calculated with very little wasted movement. He plays his cuts really close to defenders to have minimal amounts of wasted space when getting through the line of scrimmage and around defenders. The cuts need to be more precise for him than most running backs because his running style lends such a small margin of error. Sometimes he misjudges those cuts and takes unnecessary contact or gets tripped up. This is something that will likely improve with more experience at the college level. He still has had limited experience carrying the football, and this is an area that he will likely have to grow into. He has all of the tools to be among the best in this area, he just needs more experience.
Derrius Guice is really fast. Once he gets into the open field, he is not an easy player to chase down. This top end speed is accented by the fact that it doesn’t take Guice long to get to that speed. He doesn’t need build-up-time. He doesn’t need a lot of space. Guice can go from moving sideline-to-sideline to his second gear with little effort. This speed lends well to his running style. He has the ability to run through tackles or around them and then get moving in a hurry.
Power and Balance Through Contact
Derrius Guice has a really strong lower body. This translates into exceptional ability to stay on his feet through contact. He doesn’t go down from arm tackles. He doesn’t go down if he isn’t wrapped up. It consistently takes multiple defenders to drag Guice to the ground, all while Guice keeps moving up the field. His constant utilization of his lateral explosiveness to make defenders missed accentuates his balance and power. He is really tough to get a clean hit on, and is powerful enough to run through even form-tackles and drag defenders with him for extra yards.
Much like his predecessor Leonard Fournette, Derrius Guice is not afraid to lower his head and attack defenders. He doesn’t have that same ability to consistently bowl over defenders and keep moving, but he has certainly showed that he can run players over and fall forward for a few extra yards. His ability to make defenders miss completely compliments his power well. Defenders often have a hard time figuring out whether Guice is going to break away from them or run through them. The suddenness of his running style makes this a huge advantage for him. This explosive power is something that leads to a lot of yards after contact and helps turn “nothing runs” into something.
Guice can win in so many ways in the open field. He is an incredibly powerful running back, but it is his elusiveness that really stands out. He isn’t just a running back that makes a cut and makes the most of what happens next. Guice has the ability to string together multiple cuts, multiple moves without losing speed. This makes him incredibly hard to handle in the open field. He constantly toys with defenders, varying his speeds and making sharp cuts to navigate his way through traffic. He utilizes all of his elusive tools while also keeping his blocking in mind.
Often times you will see running backs that get into space and focus completely on making the man in front of them miss. Derrius Guice has the ability to process both defenders and his blockers, make moves around multiple defenders, utilize his blocking and make the most of any situation in the open field.
As is the case for most college running backs, this is an area that needs improvement. He is inconsistent in his technique, and will need to get better at this in this upcoming season. He has a decent frame and really good functional strength, so he certainly has the physical tools to be excellent in this area. Guice has flashed the ability to be an excellent pass blocker at times. Other times he misses defenders completely or shows a lack of willingness on some plays. When he gets engaged with a defender, he usually does a good job holding the block. The problem for Guice is getting engaged with a defender. This is something that will hopefully come with more experience for him.
LSU doesn’t typically utilize their running backs in the passing game. Derrius Guice is no exception. He has collected only 14 receptions over his two years in college football. Watching his film, you will see a lot of passes forced into coverage rather than getting checked-down to the running back. Guice has shown the ability to be an excellent route runner. He creates good separation from linebackers and safeties, and occasionally lined up as a receiver. He runs crisp routes and works quickly out of his breaks with sudden cuts that help leave defenders in the dust.
His hands are suspect. Guice has had issues with drops. He has shown willingness to catch the ball away from his frame, but often has trouble hauling in uncontested passes and double-clutches easy passes. Guice needs to show significant improvement in this area next year. I don’t expect to see a lot of volume in the passing game, but he needs to show that his hands have improved.
Derrius Guice is among the best, if not the best, backs in college football. He has a rare combination of speed and power and he knows exactly how to utilize it. All of the different individual strengths of his game complement each other and create a player that is a nightmare to defend against. He can run through defenders. He can run around defenders. Guice changes his speeds constantly and can kick it into high gear and outrun the entire defense when he sees daylight. However, there are areas that need improvement.
Guice needs to improve as a pass blocker and a receiver. In order to be a three-down back in the NFL, you have to be at least serviceable in one of those areas. If you can’t catch the ball and you can’t block, you won’t be playing on passing downs. These are areas that Guice has the physical tools to master but has had limited experience. It is tough to predict how a player will develop certain areas of their game, but Guice has everything that he needs to get better. If he can improve those areas, Derrius Guice has the opportunity to be an early first round pick in this upcoming draft and be a special player at the next level.