Leading up to the 2017 college football season, the CFB Film Room Scouting Dept. is putting together a summer scouting series. We’re focusing on the top draft-eligible prospects entering the 2017 season and will be reviewing their strengths and weaknesses from an NFL scouting perspective.
Another polarizing player who is sure to leave an even bigger mark on college football this year is LSU junior Derrius Guice. In his freshman and sophomore campaigns Guice split time with college football sensation Leonard Fournette, but was still able to rack up over 1,800 yards with a mind-blowing 7.8 yards per carry.
With Fournette moving on to the NFL, it is now Guice’s turn to take the reins in the LSU backfield. Due to Fournette’s injuries last year we were able to get an idea of what Guice can do as the main back, and many believe he is better than Fournette, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.
Guice has some big shoes to fill but already has scouts drooling over what he can do on the field. In this installment of our summer scouting series, we will take a look a few of his strengths, as well as some weaknesses he will need to improve upon this upcoming season.
Derrius Guice possess excellent, albeit not elite quickness and change-of-direction ability and has the skills to make defenders miss in the open field. His most compelling trait is his balance and flexibility as he can take on hits and keep going.
Guice has incredibly powerful legs and recently squatted 600 pounds in offseason workouts. Although not considered a burner, he has plenty of speed to get to the outside and can also break off long runs. Here are a few plays that highlight his unique combination of quickness and balance:
The main thing I love about Guice is his running style. He is a no-nonsense, downhill runner that goes North/South in a hurry. He has the innate ability to see a hole, then uses his excellent athleticism to bust through it. Both of these plays are simple, yet effective. Guice sees the opening and explodes up the field:
Both of these runs resulted in touchdowns, but it is also the every down runs where Guice is able to gain yardage simply by and not dancing behind the line. These runs may not be flashy but they help his team immensely by limiting run stuffs and keeping them ahead of the chains.
In 2016, Guice was stuffed for zero or negative yards on just 18.5 percent of his carries—nearly equal to Fournette’s impressive 15.7 percent rate during his dominant 2015 campaign.
Guice may not be the most polished blocker in the backfield, but he certainly can hold his own. He possesses the traits needed in the NFL and displays a similar aggression in pass protection as he does as a runner. More specifically he is excellent at picking up blitzes with chip blocks.
Although Guice is great at chipping, he could use some work setting up his base and having a strong initial punch. There are times he lunges towards the defenders and come up empty.
Given his athleticism, Guice is a very capable receiver out of the backfield when called upon. The issue is, LSU rarely utilizes their running backs in the passing game.
On film, he has shown the ability to create separation over the middle, and has the ability to generate decent yardage on screen plays. Guice will need to improve on catching the ball with his hands, as he has a tendency to bobble the ball.
Guice is not quite the physical specimen that Leonard Fournette is, but he has a much more well-rounded skill set at this stage in their careers. Not only does Guice possess incredible power and the ability to drive the pile, he is also quick and capable of making defenders miss with ease. Guice an excellent runner, but is also a serviceable back in third-down situations.
There really is not one area where he needs significant improvement. However, if Guice wants to be the number one running back taken he may need to have an increased role in the passing game. Guice will need to prove he can catch the ball consistently and without a bobble.
Unfortunately, Guice might not get that chance while running in LSU’s zone and power run scheme. Because of this, Guice will have to take advantage of every opportunity he gets to showcase his skills as a receiver.