In the first of many “Prospect Interviews” this draft season, I recently had the opportunity to chat with Hawaii running back Diocemy Saint-Juste. In terms of production, Saint-Juste finished this past season as one of the best running backs in all of the NCAA. It was a pleasure chatting with him as he works towards distinguishing himself against a prolific running back group in this upcoming NFL Draft.
Q: You were among the NCAA leaders in a couple of rushing categories this past season. (10th in yards, 8th in yards per game) In your final season, how accomplished do you feel going out on top?
A: It was a great accomplishment for me as well as my team. Even though things might not have went the way we wanted this past season. Our offense as a unit strived for greatness each and every week and we put our best foot forward.
Q: A lot of people will say that 5’8” is less than ideal for height in a running back. What do you say to those people?
A: There is a plethora of great running backs who are in the league and also from the past who weren’t the ideal size for some people but they all game out and dominated. I plan to be the best despite what anyone may say.
Q: Your teammates voted you as team MVP this season. What did that mean to you to be named that by your peers?
A: It was an honor to be named team MVP. As much as I would like to take the credit, I couldn’t have done it without the other 10 players on the field with me.
Q: You’re leaving Hawaii as their number two all time in all-time rushing yards, 1st (and tied for 10th) in single season & 5th in single game rushing stats (2017 vs Nevada). Is there anything more you wished you had accomplished while there?
A: The one thing I would’ve loved to have done in Hawaii was win a championship. The state of Hawaii deserves it.
Q: You have a very strong build at 5’8”, 190-200 lbs. but were able to rush for 200+ yards three times in 2017 alone. Do you try to model or resemble your game after someone?
A: I don’t necessarily try to model myself after many other back. I just go out there and do what I do best. I do watch film on other running backs such as Dion Lewis, LT, Frank Gore, and so forth.
Q: You were forced to redshirt in 2015 due to an injury. How did that help you not only be able to recover and return but also help you improve despite not being on the field?
A: The year I took off allowed me to grow player both mentally and physically. I was able to hit the weight room & improve my conditioning as well as learn more about football. It was as if I was taking a lot of mental reps.
Q: We saw a big jump in your receiving stats from eight receptions for 56 yards to 28 receptions and 157 yards in 2017. How much of an emphasis did you put on rounding out your ability as a running back and showing off your receiving ability?
A: In order to be a great running back, you have to be able to stay on the field in any situation. Having the ability to catch out the backfield allows you do that. I felt like me catching the ball out the backfield more this past season elevated my game.