In the NFL, the best players are full of confidence and this is the case of Benjamin St-Juste. Approaching his third season, the Quebec cornerback believes he has all the tools to establish himself as one of the star players in his position with the Washington Commanders.
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Last fall, St-Juste demonstrated his full potential by starting his team’s first 11 games, regularly facing the best opposing receivers. An ankle injury suffered against the Texans on Nov. 20, however, has sidelined him in five of the last six games. The 2021 third-round pick had 42 tackles, including two quarterback sacks, in addition to knocking down seven assists.
He thought he had his first two career interceptions, but each time they were canceled due to penalties. That’s when St-Juste feels more than ever on the attack.
“If I can stay healthy all season, I have no doubt that I can become a All Pro“, he summed up during an interview with THE Logreferring to players elected to the league’s all-star teams.
“With the progress I made last year until my injury, it was encouraging. This year, I know the defense even better and I am even more comfortable with the playbook,” he said.
Last April in the draft, the Commanders selected a promising young cornerback, Emmanuel Forbes, in the first round. Some saw it as a disavowal of St-Juste, which the former Spartan refutes.
“A franchise, when it drafts players, it does not think of the present moment, but of the future. If you don’t draft defensive backs every year because you have two that are good right now, then someone gets injured, asks to be traded or their contract expires, what do you do in the future? ? » mentioned the one who expects to evolve inside and out, with the arrival of Forbes.
“I get to play multiple positions and there are more responsibilities that come with a third year in the NFL. I am ready to assume them as a veteran so that we can put on one of the best defenses.
“We always need depth. The season is very long and you need players who produce at the same level as the starters. I’ve always been one to share my knowledge to help young people. I myself had players like Kendall Fuller who helped me when I was a rookie. It is my duty to do this in my turn, ”he assured.
Change of air
At the Commanders this season, there will not only be new faces in the locker room, but also at the helm of the team. After years of disputed reign, Daniel Snyder has resigned himself to selling the team to the group of Josh Harris, which will be formalized shortly as the new owner. The change should do the most good for the unloved organization of recent years.
“Already around the team, among supporters and sponsors, we feel that the energy is coming back. We got the Chiefs offensive coordinator (Eric Bieniemy), we have a young quarterback (Sam Howell) and we have new owners coming. We feel that people are ready to come back and that the energy will be really different,” said St-Juste.
A popular camp for returning youth
After last year’s resounding success, the Return to the Origins football camp, organized by Benjamin St-Juste, is back in force on June 30 and 1er July.
Still held at Curé-Antoine Labelle high school in Laval, where St-Juste played his school football with the Wolves, the camp is expected to attract 625 young people separated into groups of 8-13, 14-15 and 16-19. years. It would be even better than last year with an astonishing total of 500 participants.
Once again, several professional players, active or former, will be on site, such as Matthew Bergeron (Falcons), Kwity Paye (Colts), Luiji Vilain (Vikings), Darrick Forrest (Commanders) and Jesse Luketa (Cardinals), among others.
“There are many young people who see these players on TV and on social networks, but it is not the reality until they have the chance to talk to them and ask them questions. We need to bring our young people to be coached by players like that,” explained St-Juste, who will obviously also be part of the coaching staff.
The cornerback is delighted that the first version of his camp has attracted so many young people on the field.
After all, football hasn’t always had good press in recent years with some serious issues such as the effects of concussions. St-Juste is one of those who continue to advocate the benefits of sport beyond the risks.
“We have read a lot in recent years about the fact that young people no longer register for football. We were talking about troughs and schools that were closing their programs since COVID.”
“When we organized the camp and 500 young people showed up, we felt that it gave them a boost talk to NFL, CFL and NCAA players. It shows them that we have to keep working hard because sport can change lives.”