Inside the Article:
A once-budding Wolverine star, former defensive back Benjamin St. Juste, recently voiced a contentious claim: The University of Michigan strong-armed him into an early medical retirement post the 2018 season.
A High Hope Extinguished
Hailing from the 2017 recruitment class, St. Juste was a beacon of hope for Michigan, entering the field as a four-star prospect. His potential, however, was prematurely cut short. A severe Grade 2 hamstring injury during his debut year extinguished his fledgling Wolverine career, an ordeal St. Juste attributes to a repeated overcompensation during recovery, causing six separate pulls in the process.
The Unanticipated Twist
Amid unyielding attempts to bounce back and fruitless months with Michigan's medical staff, St. Juste recalls being handed a form to sign – a document purportedly designed to provide the opportunity to consult alternative specialists.
He recounted, “They come up with a paper, these documents, they're like, ‘Hey, if you sign this it's going to give you way more options and time to go heal and rehab at any other place that you want.”
Seizing what appeared as a lifeline, the young player, then removed from any familial or mentor support, promptly put his signature on the paper.
The Forced Retirement?
St. Juste, however, alleges that the Michigan Wolverines had other plans. He accuses the University of maneuvering him into a medical retirement without his knowledge.
“They was never planning on getting me back on the team. Basically, when I signed that paper they took my scholarship, they gave it to somebody else and they made me think, ‘Hey, go through the process, pass all the tests and then we'll get you back on the team,'” St. Juste narrates.
With his locker cleared and facility access revoked, the young player was reduced to a spectator, watching his teammates from the stands.
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By the Numbers
St. Juste's abrupt Wolverine journey gave way to a flourishing stint with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. His two-season performance at Minnesota propelled him to the 2021 NFL Draft, where he was picked by the Washington Commanders.
A Lesson Learned
Despite the tumultuous journey, St. Juste concludes on a reflective note, “Believe in your dreams, have a good support system…and never forget that the NCAA, the NFL, all that stuff is a business first. Players don't come first. It's a business first, so look out for yourself.”
His allegations leave a trail of unanswered questions and a reminder for young players: In a landscape where business often supersedes individual interests, vigilance and self-advocacy are critical.