Trieu: UM commit St. Juste out to prove doubters wrong

Allen Trieu
Special to The Detroit News
Benjamin St. Juste

After a standout performance at Sunday’s Opening Regional in New Jersey, one of the first messages Michigan cornerback commit Benjamin St. Juste received was from Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh congratulating him.

St. Juste entered Michigan’s camp last summer as truly unknown. Although the Wolverines offered and he committed, the Old Montreal product is still relatively anonymous on a national level. Sunday was his chance to change that and he did, finishing in the top 20 of the NIKE+ Football Ratings after running a 4.60 40, 3.93 shuttle and recording a 35-inch vertical jump at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds.

“A lot of people think football players in Canada are not as good as the American ones,” he said. “I came to these camps to clear all the doubt on me and show people my skills.”

While St. Juste did not earn an invite to The Opening Finals in Oregon on the spot, he may still be invited before the event takes place July 5-10.

Another Michigan commit, running back A.J. Dillon, did earn an invitation, and the two future Wolverines worked together to recruit other players in attendance who are considering joining the class.

“A.J. introduced me to a couple players who have Michigan in their top 3-4,” St. Juste said, “and I talked with (offered defensive end) Luiji Vilain. He's from Canada too. A.J. and I talked to them about all the great things at Michigan.”

St. Juste says he will visit Michigan in the summer in order to meet some of the newer staff members who he did not see last time he was on campus.

He will not, however, participate in camp this time around.

Dillon shows his speed

In earning his invite to The Opening Finals, Dillon also answered a question he felt he had to about his speed.

“I feel like a lot of people kind of doubted my speed based off my film, but I weighed in at 239 and I ran a 4.56, which qualified me for the fastest man competition,” Dillon said.

While Dillon did not win that fastest man heat, he was nearly 60 pounds heavier than some of the other participants.

For a running back, it is sometimes hard to fully showcase his skills in a camp setting. For a power back, which Dillon is known as, it can be even harder. But the fact that he was able to stand out in that setting should make Wolverine fans excited – not only because of his physical tools, but because of the work ethic he demonstrated in preparing for the event.

“I’m faster than I was last year, quicker than I was last year, jumping higher – everything (at the regional) was a personal best. I feel like I’m improving – bigger, faster, stronger and showcasing everything I can possibly do without pads.”

Dillon, who attends Lawrence Academy in Groton (Mass.), now joins O’Maury Samuels, a fellow running back commit, as Wolverine verbals who have earned invites to The Opening Finals.

Wolverines offer Gilman sophomore

Baltimore (Md.) Gilman School and Michigan have had a good relationship of late. Michigan signed Stephen Spanellis last year and Henry Poggi a few years before that. Now the Wolverines have extended an offer to tight end Thomas Booker, already 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds as a sophomore, who spoke to Poggi’s father, Biff Poggi, the former head coach at Gilman who is now on Michigan’s staff.

“I reached out to Coach Poggi, the assistant head coach at Michigan, on Thursday and he asked me to speak to Coach Harbaugh the next day,” Booker told The Michigan Insider’s Brice Marich. “I thought it would be just a conversation and introduction to Coach Harbaugh and I was grateful to have the opportunity to get to know a coach with his outstanding reputation. Coach Harbaugh turned out to have a little bit more on his mind. When I first heard him offer me the scholarship, I was humbled by the fact that a program with such a winning athletic tradition and national academic standing was the first offer for me in my sophomore year.”

Booker says Michigan is a school he will look to visit over the next year.

His father, Thomas Booker, and Poggi played football together at Gilman.

More information

Benjamin St. Juste profile

A.J. Dillon profile

Thomas Booker profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for Scout.com in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.