In Baton Rouge, the story of LSU running back Derrius Guice's childhood is well-known -- yet still heart-wrenching.
Guice's father was murdered when he was 7. His mother, Beulah, spent most of her time working various jobs to raise two boys, plus a third that came a few years ago.
He needed rides to Catholic High School's campus from his coaches and mentors, the father figures who helped keep him away from trouble.
The houses in his neighborhood won't appear in “Better Homes and Gardens.” He grew up between Highland Road and where I-10 meets with I-110.
Guice recently opened up about all that and more with Bleacher Report -- about dealing with a troubled sibling, leaving LSU in a year, growing up in an impoverished area of Baton Rouge, attending a private high school and fighting off stereotypes at LSU like would-be tacklers.
Here a few excerpts from the story:
Guice on the perception that athletes at LSU are given preferential treatment in the classroom...
"The reality is, there are more eyes on us and more people know us. We are constantly being watched. We have class-checkers. We have to take our tests in testing centers, just like you. Our tutors go through compliance every year. They can't give us a pencil without getting fired. You think we get grades because we play football?"
Guice on his brother's recent arrest, his brother's penchant to find trouble and his own plans for the NFL:
"I've been getting my brother out of s--t all his life. I don't think he gets it. I'm almost gone for good. I'm almost out. All he has to do is literally chill for one more year and relax until I'm out, and he's got a brother who has a chance to make millions and take care of him. If I had that, I'd be inside all day. I don't know why he's with these people 24/7. I'm in college now. My name and face are everywhere. I'm not risking my future because of him."
Guice's friend, Javahn Ferguson, on being criticized by Catholic High classmates who said things like they didn't deserve to be there and that they were only at Catholic because of football:
"When you're a black person, the only time you really see racism like that, to that full an extent, is when you're watching a movie. We were living that movie. It was like, Is this really happening? I never thought it was real. We were just kids, and it really affected us mentally."
Guice on growing up in high school:
"Despite all I went through [at Catholic], I can absolutely say it made me the man I am today."