Derrius Guice enters his rookie campaign in Washington with the hope to become the Redskins every down back. However, this isn't the first time the Baton Rouge, La., native finds himself competing for the top spot on the depth chart.
During his first two seasons at LSU, Guice played behind current Jacksonville Jaguars starting running back and former No.4-overall pick, Leonard Fournette. In what was his final season with the Tigers and his first as the primary back, Guice, meanwhile, finished fourth in total rushing in the SEC.
Guice and Fournette were among the nation's best one-two punches in the backfield. Fournette was a powerful downhill runner that could shed tackles with ease, while Guice offered a change of pace in that he had that special playmaking ability to take it the house on any given play.
Fournette, a native of New Orleans, expects Guice to prove why he should've been a first-round selection back in April's draft.
"He's going to have a great year," Fournette told The Times Picayune. "He always had the talent when I was there at LSU. He's a hard worker. He's a great kid. Big things are going to come for Derrius this year."
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Guice has remained in contact with his former teammate throughout the first few months of his professional career, recently chatting with his friend after the end of minicamp. As a second-year NFL player, Fournette can continue his role as a "big brother" to the 5-foot-11 rookie because he understands what Guice is going through having done the same thing last year.
"I know that rookie year," Fournette said. "It's a long season from the draft then to minicamp and then to [training] camp and then the season. It's a long process."
Guice has done nothing but impress since arriving to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudon County, Va. He continues to make his presence felt around the organization, as he has treated fans to a screening of Avengers Infinity War and has invited fans to join him for a few rounds of bowling as well. He has done all the right things to demonstrate he is ready to become a top-flight running back as a rookie, and his time can't come soon enough.
"First and foremost, he's a tremendous talent," running backs coach Randy Jordan said. "He's a guy that is high-energy, he's talented. What he's done to the room is elevated the play because he's a high-energy guy that wants to take every rep. When you get a guy like that, everybody else is like, 'Hey man, I've got to make sure I take care of mine.' So what it's done is elevated the play in the room."