HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - 2016 was a breakout season for Hawaii running back, Diocemy Saint Juste. The Florida native's junior campaign saw him rush for more 1,000 last year, becoming just the ninth Rainbow Warrior in program history to break the century mark in a single season. Now heading into his senior year number 22 is setting his sights on topping what he accomplished last year, and helping Hawaii reach new heights as a team.
"I think he's a very complete back," said offensive coordinator and running backs coach, Brian Smith. "He is powerful. He has great feet, and quickness, and then he does have some break away speed. There's a great combination there of someone that can do just about everything you want. He's not a guy that you have to roll other people in for specific situations. It's more having other guys come in to keep him fresh at times."
Saint Juste said his goal this year is to help Hawaii to a Mountain West Championship and accumulate at least 1,500 yards rushing along the way. Last year he racked up 1,031 yards on the ground.
There's no doubt, Saint Juste is U.H.'s top ball carrier heading into 2017, but there are still questions regarding who will help carry his load among the running back corps. Last year, Saint Juste primarily was supported by Paul Harris and Steve Lakalaka. But, with both players having graduated opportunities have opened up for new players to bolster the 'Bows run game.
"We have a pretty solid core," said Saint Juste. "We have Ryan Tuiasoa who's also a senior. He's had a really good camp this fall. Our freshman, Freddie Holly, is actually pretty good himself. We have a pretty big back in Hekili [Keliiliki]. So, he may come in and contribute himself."
"I think both Freddie [Holly] and Ryan [Tuiasoa] showed a lot today," said Smith after the Rainbow Warriors first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday morning. "It was great to see those guys get opportunities with the ones. Sometimes that's the hard part, when you're deep at running back you're trying to roll guys... trying to get them solid reps in a row with the best group. So, those guys actually getting a chance to drive with the ones was really good for them... both of them showed some play making ability."
Tuiasoa appeared in all 14 games for Hawaii last year as member of special teams. Holly redshirted in 2016, however he graduated high school ranked the seventh best running back in the west and the sixth best running back in California by Scout.