The SEC caught glimpses of it. Soon enough, the rest of the college football universe will understand what it is.
The "it" in question is not necessarily a particular play or even the athlete himself. The "it" in question is a style. It's an aura. This is how we recognize someone's "it factor". In this case, the "it" in question is both force and sleight of hand.
Derrius Guice is not a small person. He's what we think of as the "prototypical" running back. For that matter, he's what we think of as the prototypical running back at LSU. He's about 5'11", 220 pounds and he's a wrecker.
Unfortunately for him he's had to play behind quite possibly the finest running back we've had since Adrian Peterson. He did pretty well for himself in 2015 as a true freshman and surely to goodness he'll receive a few more carries as a sophomore this season.
What little highlights there are to watch of him, at his worst he was simply an impatient freshman not making his reads. At his best? Your team's worst nightmare. And like any young athlete on the rise, he's, also, aware that he's capable of both.
In an article for The Advocate in Louisiana, Guice described Leonard Fournette as a "big brother", a person who's helped Guice understand the inner workings of the position.
Guice was a blue chip coming out of high school. There's no reason for a top-flight 18-year-old to feel grateful for tutelage from someone who is just one year their senior. Unless, of course, that someone was Leonard Fournette. A high school football legend. Guice could've fought it, but he didn't. If you're going to sit behind someone for a couple of years, why not that person be Leonard Fournette?
Oh, surely there were moments during Guice's freshman season when he felt down about his carries. He made the most of the ones he had, though. Les Miles also made him the primary kick returner for LSU last year and chances are he'll be in the same position in 2016.
If you're wondering how that aspect of Guice's game went, you can watch this.
"How?", you might ask. Our scientists are still working on an answer. This does, however, relate directly back to the "it". It's not the best quality, but watch in the video how his legs continue to move after contact. That's purely a running back doing the kickoff thing. It looks like he's trying to make a flight at the airport and passers-by are chucking luggage at him.
There's nothing reasonable about this return. Sure, the spin move is something plenty of Power 5 athletes could pull off, as well. However, It's the fighting off of what looks like A&M's entire roster following the spin move that is inexplicable. "The end zone is this way, coach? Yessir, I will find it."
Although he doesn't end up finding the end zone on this return, he did make an entire special teams unit (including his own, probably) look silly. Very very silly.
If you were curious about his actual abilities as a running back, you only need watch this. Against South Carolina, a game where Fournette still rushed for 158 yards, Guice was brilliant. He, himself, accrued 161 yards on 16 carries, averaging 10.1 yards per carry.
Watch the video. Watch every carry he has. Watch him make freshman mistakes and then watch him turn a three-yard loss into a 39-yard gain. A simple back-up, he is not. This is a football player itching for every moment he has the ball in his hands.
Guice averaged 8.5 yards a carry in 2015. Chalk it up to fresh legs, but he knows what he brings to the table. And so, too, do the opposing defenses.
2016 will most likely bring similar statistics, but when 2017 rolls around and there's little Fournette to be seen, linebackers and corners beware: Derrius Guice, the runaway freight train, will be coming to a stadium near you.