Before the 2017 season started, running back Diocemy Saint Juste laughingly joked that maybe, in his final year with Hawaii, he should aim for a 2,000-yard season.
At the time, DSJ was coming off a breakout junior campaign that 1,006 rushing yards. Now, seven games into the 2017 season, the idea of him nearly doubling that total hardly seems out of reach.
Saint Juste heads into Hawaii's final five games having already surpassed his numbers from last year. He's accumulated 1,094 yards on the ground in seven starts and recorded 200 or more yards in a single game on three different occasions. Against conference opponents, he's averaging 165 yards per game.
In Hawaii's last contest, against San Jose State, Saint Juste set a new program record for most carries in a single game, with 39, but the heavy workload doesn't seem to be weighing at all on the Florida-native.
In fact, after the 'Bows win over the Spartans, Saint Juste said he could've gone for 50.
"The fact that I know him as a person, it doesn't shock me," said quarterback Dru Brown, of Saint Juste's yearning to take on offensive responsibility. "He's a hard-nosed guy. Once you get to know him, you kind of see the type of guy he is and he's just a tough dude who doesn't make excuses. He performs when his number is called."
Saint Juste's performances have already earned him a place in the Hawaii football records books. At 2,686 career rushing yards, he's currently second in program history. This season, he's averaging more than 156 yards per game.
If he can continue to produce at the rate he has so far this year, he'd be number one in program history in season yards per game as well.
"It feels great," said Saint Juste, of the impact he's been able to have for Hawaii's offense. "Props to the o-line and the coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to succeed."
"Obviously he's a special player," said head coach Nick Rolovich. "I think people are enjoying watching him. I think he'll be remembered for a long time for a lot of the things he's done. So, I'm excited for him. I'm excited for the o-line. They've taken some pride blocking for a guy like that and we got to do it again this Saturday night."
On Saturday, fans will also get a chance to see San Diego State standout Rashaad Penny. Penny is the only player in the Mountain West to rush for more yards than Saint Juste so far this season.
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