BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Catholic High senior running back Derrius Guice might be an LSU verbal commitment, but there’s still much for him to accomplish in prep football.
“He’s heard it over and over,” veteran Catholic High head coach Dale Weiner says. “Actually, you’re a Catholic High running back. That’s who you are. I haven’t seen your course schedule, but I don’t think there’s any LSU courses on it.”
Weiner says high school players that commit to colleges early, can sometimes struggle with focus during their senior seasons.
“That’s the potential pitfall of any guy, that’s heading to college, already committed, knows where he’s going. You can’t shift mentally over there yet. You’ve got unfinished business.”
The 6’2, 210 pound Guice will certainly be counted on heavily by the Bears this season. He rushed for 1,101 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, despite being hampered by injuries in several games and being suspended for another. Guice then struggled with maturity issues and was humbled during the offseason.
“I had him temporarily suspended from the team,” Weiner recalls. “From April 2nd to the end of the school year, he wasn’t on our team. When he committed to LSU he wasn’t on our team.”
According to the coach, Guice’s indiscretions weren’t terrible or malicious. But little by little they were becoming a team cancer.
“Just some challenges in his own life he’s had to face. Just being responsible. Being on time for something. Following through on something you’re suppose to follow through with. Shaving. School stuff, where we’re holding him accountable. That stuff mounts up. By itself, it’s no big deal. But if that’s the MO, it becomes a distraction. Over time we just said – hey bub, we’re not doing this anymore. You’ve got to get your act together.”
Weiner says the suspension led to some personal reflection and a new motivation for Guice.
“I laid out a bunch of conditions he had to meet and he met them, which I really thought was good for him.”
The running back has worked very hard during the summer, according to Weiner. If that discipline and drive continues, Guice should be one of the biggest stars in Louisiana high school football this season.
“Derrius is a unique guy,” says Weiner. “People ask me who I’d compare him to. I wouldn’t compare him to anyone we’ve had. We’ve never had anyone as big and strong as him, in the backfield.”