When the phone rang late on Friday night and Coach Ron Rivera’s voice rang on the other end of the line, Benjamin Saint-Justy couldn’t believe it. A few minutes later, he became the top corner player of Quebec in the NFL Draft 25 years ago, and at the same time a proud member of Team Washington.
Shortly before taking the microphone in the third round, at 74th, the organization contacted St-Juste. The young man from Rosemère watched the enlistment with his girlfriend’s family in Georgia, while nearly two dozen of his relatives joined him, through a videoconference.
Suddenly, it became the Quebec whose name was heard sooner in the draft of Chimanga Byakaputoka’s return in the first round in 1996.
“It was so crazy! I answered the call and Coach Rivera was on the phone. He told me they would pick me in two or three classes. It was weird, I had so many feelings at the same time.” St-Juste said, on a Saturday morning, during an interview with my reporters Quebec: “I was on cloud 9”.
- Listen to the La Zone payante podcast interview with Benjamin St-Juste, conducted by William Boivin, on QUB Radio:
Human even if during the process leading to the draft he somehow tried to isolate himself from expectations, St-Juste expected to get his chance in the third round, but not soon.
With the tenth pick in the third round, which Washington secured last year by exchanging tackle star Trent Williams with 49 players, the fate of the former Cégep du Vieux-Montréal changed.
“I knew it was going to happen that night, but the fact that it happened so quickly, I will remember it for the rest of my life.” I thought it would happen with another team at the end of the third round and instead it happened with Washington in the top ten of the round. When they called me, it was a shock, a really beautiful moment, ”he said.
A role to be determined
For now, it’s too early to think about the role St-Juste could play in a defense that appears to have been growing rapidly for a couple of years. He said yesterday that after discussions with several recruits and with his position trainer (Chris Harris), he risks spreading to various positions on the field.
“I think they have a specific plan for me and they’ll want to build on my versatility. I might not just play as a corner back. Maybe they’ll move me everywhere. That’s what Coach Rivera likes, the diverse players,” suggested the guy who also trained on thieves during Senior Ball Week in January . “They haven’t told me about their expectations since draft yet, but it should have an immediate effect. They want me to play right away, so I’ll be ready.”
Amidst a whirlwind
After the initial call with Ron Rivera, St-Juste didn’t have much time to decompress. Within seconds, about 1,000 notifications had overheated his phone.
A virtual press conference awaits him with the media in Washington. Then the operations manager on the team spoke with him to sort through the technical details such as his next travel dates. The person who distinguished himself in the last two seasons at the University of Minnesota will arrive in Washington a few days before the start of the junior camp on May 17th.
So the family reunion will have to wait a little longer. In the trance of the moment, precisely for those close to him, little Benjamin, who had grown up, took a place in his head and heart.
“I couldn’t be physically with my family due to restrictions in Canada. I thought of all the sacrifices my father made to put me in this position. I thought of my brother who was so affected because he followed my path. There was my mom, who wore my Senior Powell shirt in the evening. They are the ones who occupied my thoughts. ”
Fishing Kipkers In the NFL
- 2021, Benjamin St.Just, Corner Buck (3rd round, pick 74), Washington
- 2017, Justin Senior, Handling (6th round, Choice 210), Seattle
- 2014, Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff, goalkeeper (6th round, 200th pick), Kansas City
- 2001 Randy Shefferer, long discounts (7th round, pick # 241), Jacksonville
- 1996, Tshimanga Biakabutuka, Carrier (1st round, 8th check), Caroline
- 1995, Mark Montroy, Buck Corner (7th round, pick 237), San Diego
- 1990, Ian Pickles, goalkeeper (5th round, pick 114), Tampa Bay
- 1988, Tommy Kane, Wide Receiver (3rd round, choice 75), Seattle
- 1988, Brian Ford, full-back (7th round, selection # 190), New Orleans
- 1981, Justin Cross, Healer (10th round, 272 selections), Buffalo
A source of inspiration for Quebec youth
A Quebec player drafted in NFL Round Three is a rare event. Benjamin St-Juste hopes this feat in arms will serve as an inspiring example for young people growing up on the county’s soccer fields.
St-Juste became the third player from Quebec to be selected in the first three rounds of the auction.
He sincerely hopes the news will give impetus to a generation of Quebecers who may feel the dream is out of reach.
“It’s something close to my heart. I wanted to make it to the NFL, but I always saw the big picture and thought about the effect that could be made by being drafted early by a good team. It’s a good picture to give to the younger generation in Quebec and Canada in general.” .
“This is what we need. Growing up, I haven’t seen any player being recruited and playing for the NCAA. My vision will give Quebec youth a lot of motivation to go to the NFL and I think we’ll see more in the years to come.”
It is believed that no later than 2014, the player who now belongs to the largest football circuit has been cut off from Quebec.
“It happened among other things, but it curved like A wake-up cry. I understood that nothing would be given to me in life. I started training harder. You gave me a chance to get a scholarship in Michigan and Minnesota. I changed my NFL process. “
That is the beginning
Now that his dream barely touches, St-Juste says he realizes that all the work still needs to be done.
“The hardest thing in the NFL is not getting there, it’s staying there. I was selected, but now I have to make an impact and have a great career,” he said wisely.
“Until now, I haven’t realized yet. I’ve always been a person who takes the time to think about what’s going on. I imagine it will take a few days for me to realize what is happening to me. My mind is always in the next step and I always tell myself to keep working.”