SAN ANTONIO — The Louisiana contingent at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is small, but they are having a big impact on the intrigue surrounding the 14th annual game.
Learning what college some of the nation’s top high school players will attend next season is arguably more exciting than the game itself for most fans.
Will Pine wide receiver Derrick Dillon spurn Florida for LSU? Will Riverdale defensive back Donte Jackson choose LSU, Georgia or USC?
The mysteries may begin to unravel at noon Saturday at the Alamodome. Numerous players are planning to announce their college commitments during NBC’s national broadcast.
One person who won’t be making an announcement is Catholic running back Derrius Guice, but his future was, and probably still is, the subject of widespread speculation.
Guice’s commitment to LSU led to more consternation among the Tigers faithful than the annual “Les Miles is leaving to coach (insert team here)” rumors.
Rest easy, Tigers. Guice is definitely geauxing to LSU.
“I’m as hard of a committed (recruit) to LSU as there is,” Guice tweeted Thursday.
The Tigers’ anxiety was understandable.
A downhill runner with a rare combination of speed, power and shiftiness, Guice is rated as the nation’s fourth best running back by Rivals.com. The website also made the 5-foot-11, 215-pound a five-star prospect, which it generally reserves for the nation’s top 25 to 30 players at any position.
LSU rejoiced when Guice committed to the Tigers in the offseason, but shuddered when he announced Oct. 14 that he wanted to visit other schools.
Social media went berserk with news of Guice backing out of his commitment. In truth, he just wanted to make sure of a commitment he never actually reneged on.
“He wanted to let the colleges know, I think I am going to take a few visits,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “Well, he called me and he went by LSU personally. He told me, ‘Coach, you know what you said about Twitter,’ because I wouldn’t let him be on Twitter, but he said, ‘Coach, I do want to take some other visits and I talked to (LSU running backs) coach Frank Wilson and he said it was OK. The best way for me to let these guys know all at once is to just say it on Twitter.”
Weiner could not have been prouder.
The new world that revolves around social media is inconstant yet permanent.
Guice didn’t quite understand that. A few undisclosed tweets led to a two-month suspension from the team following his junior season, said Weiner, who also banned him from Twitter during his senior season.
“He’s never been guilty of anything that in of itself is bad,” Weiner said. “But I just wanted him making good decisions and understanding that he represents more than himself and that other people are affected by it, particularly someone as high profile as himself with his great ability. He did a real good job of turning that around. I was really proud of him for doing that. He got the chance to come back and play and had an outstanding season, just really good.”
So, Guice gets to just have fun playing in the All-American Bowl without having to pause to ponder his future.
“Class of 2015 is gonna be something special,” Guice tweeted Thursday.
And it could get even better for Guice and the Tigers on Saturday.