The two running backs played two seasons together while at LSU, before Fournette joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Guice left a year later, with his selection by the Washington Redskins coming 59th overall, the seventh running back selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.
That pick came a bit later than many expected. Despite that, Fournette see big things ahead for the Baton Rouge native.
“He’s going to have a great year,” Fournette said Friday (June 15) while at Academy Sports & Outdoors on the West Bank as part of a $100 shopping spree for 25 children from a nearby Boys & Girls Club.
“He always had the talent when I was there at LSU,” Fournette said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a great kid. Big things are going to come for Derrius this year.”
The New Orleans-born Fournette said he has stayed in contact with Guice over the year-plus since they last played together in 2016. The two spoke just after their team minicamps and offseason programs ended in recent weeks.
“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 left LSU with the fifth-highest rushing total in school history (3,074 yards), one spot behind Fournette (3,830 yards). Although slowed at times by injuries, Guice missed only one game during his final season with the Tigers, with five 100-yard rushing games upping his college career total to 12.
Once in the NFL, Fournette shined as a rookie. His 1,040 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns helped the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and a spot in the AFC championship game, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
He’s now 10 pounds lighter than he was a year ago, primed to stay healthy — he missed two games because of ankle and quad injuries and one for a disciplinary matter — and looking to take his team another step froward.
He spoke Friday about a “culture change” that came with Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone’s influence as vice president of football operations and head coach, respectively. The Jaguars won three games in the season before they arrived.
Fournette expects more progress in Year 2.
In listing teammates Dede Westbrook at wide receiver, Cam Robinson at offensive tackle, Jalen Ramsey at cornerback and Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell at defensive ends, Fournette said “it’s a great chemistry we have going on our team.”
The Jaguars also added former LSU wideout D.J. Chark with a second-round draft selection and former Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee, who ended his college career at Nebraska, in the sixth round.
Fournette will host a football skills camp for children Saturday morning at the New Orleans Saints’ indoor facility. The camp is full and not open for enrollment.
After then, he’ll continue with his offseason and await the start of training camp. Through it all, he’ll keep tabs on Guice.
“Derrius is always going to be Derrius and one of my little brothers,” Fournette said. “I’m looking forward to what he can do in the NFL.”
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