BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU running back Derrius Guice made it official on Wednesday, forgoing his final season of eligibility and declaring for the 2018 NFL draft.
LSU has a lot of rushing production to replace for the 2018 season — 2,495 yards worth of production to be specific. Between Guice, senior running back Darrel Williams, quarterback Danny Etling, fullback J.D. Moore and wide receivers DJ Chark and Russell Gage, LSU has to replace 92 percent of its rushing yards and 24 of its 25 rushing touchdowns from 2017.
For the first time in years, LSU doesn’t have a bona fide star it can plug in at running back. The Tigers will return three running backs with experience in 2018, but none who rushed for more than 100 yards in 2017.
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At the top of the pecking order will likely be rising senior and Baton Rouge native Nick Brossette. Brossette carried 19 times for 96 yards in 2017, including a start in the Tigers’ loss versus Troy. Brossette carried and fumbled on the first play from scrimmage of that game and did not make another carry until the last week of the regular season versus Texas A&M.
As a sophomore in 2016, Brossette carried 15 times for 145 yards, amassing an impressive 9.7 yards per carry for the season.
Behind Brossette, LSU has rising sophomore Clyde Edwards-Helaire. A graduate of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, like Guice, Edwards-Helaire saw the field primarily as LSU’s kick returner in 2017. The freshman carried 9 times for 31 yards and caught 3 passes for 46 yards in his first collegiate campaign. Edwards-Helaire will likely assume the role Williams leaves behind, working as a receiving and blocking option on third downs.
LSU’s third returning running back option is Lanard Fournette. The younger brother of LSU legend and Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, Lanard carried once in 2017 for 7 yards.
In the early signing period, LSU signed two running backs. One was 4-star Florida back Chris Curry. Nicknamed “Beast Mode Jr.,” the 5-foot-11, 205-pound back is a pounding runner who could compete for playing time early. LSU’s other running back signee is 3-star athlete Tae Provens from Gurley, Ala. Provens measures at 6-foot and 187 pounds, and he rushed 101 times for 625 yards and 6 touchdowns in five games this past season. He also caught 13 passes for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns.