Derrius Guice’s offseason of giving continued Monday when the Redskins rookie running back surprised his mother, Beulah, with a new car. Guice shared a video on Twitter of his mom’s reaction after he rolled up to her Baton Rouge home in a white Jaguar SUV with a bow on the hood. Beulah could hardly contain her excitement before her son christened her new ride with a bottle of champagne.
Guice’s gift to his mom came on the heels of a $1,000 donation he made last week to help an LSU student finish her degree. New Orleans native Jhane’ Garner, who served as a trainer for the LSU football team when Guice was a sophomore and fellow NFL running back Leonard Fournette was a junior for the Tigers in 2016, launched a GoFundMe campaign this month to raise money for her final year of tuition. Garner explained that her Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarship expired after four years, and she needed help to pay the $10,000 to cover her fifth year in Baton Rouge.
“I have tried to apply for several loans but have gotten turned down for every single one,” Garner wrote. “This means that I will have to pay for my tuition out of pocket. I am really in need and would appreciate any donation that is given. $1, $5…. anything helps! I’ve worked too hard & I’ve come to far to stop now! Thank you to everyone in advance!”
Garner set her donation goal at $5,000 and planned to pay the other half out of her own pocket. One of the first donations came from Guice, who slipped to the second round in April’s NFL draft due to unsubstantiated concerns about his maturity. The gesture wasn’t out of character for Guice, who during his brief time in D.C. has hosted fans for an impromptu movie night at an Ashburn theater and helped raise more than $20,000 for a cancer center in his home town. (Guice boosted the donation total for the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center by promising to play the popular video game Fortnite with anyone who donated at least $5.)
As other donations for Garner’s tuition began to trickle in, Fournette, a first-round pick of the Jaguars in 2017 who rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a rookie, got word of the campaign. He replied to Garner’s tweet about her GoFundMe by offering to cover the remainder of her tuition. As of Tuesday morning, Garner had raised more than $4,000 toward her initial $5,000 goal.
Garner said she saw Fournette’s tweet while working one of her two jobs.
“They had to send me home, because I couldn’t stop crying,” Garner told Jacques Doucet of WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge. “I can’t even thank everybody enough. Because of these people that helped me, that I’d be able to finish my last year in school. Words can’t even explain how much appreciation I have toward everybody.”
Fournette was asked about his gesture while visiting Wimbledon last week.
“She’s from my home town,” Fournette, a New Orleans native, told Will Gavin of talkSPORT.com. “Why not give back to where I’m from? I feel like everybody needs that chance in order to do something they want to do in life.”
Fournette also offered a prediction about Guice, whom he referred to as his “younger brother.”
“A lot of teams skipped on him, passed up on him,” Fournette said. “He’s going to make them pay for it.”
Garner, who has also served as a manager for the LSU women’s basketball team and as a trainer for the women’s volleyball team during her time in Baton Rouge, told The Washington Post she plans to graduate with a degree in athletic training and attend graduate school. After that, she hopes to land a job as a trainer with a professional sports team.
“We know we didn’t have to help and we did, enjoy your senior year!” Guice tweeted.
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