A player who spends most of his junior year as a backup typically doesn’t get multiple scholarship offers to play Division I-A football.
Freedom High defensive end Dieugot Joseph, who announced his commitment to FIU on Saturday night via Twitter, knows this and appreciates the opportunity that schools like FIU and Troy have offered him.
Sure, Joseph’s 6-foot-6, 230-pound build and natural athleticism are reasons why colleges are taking a flier on him even though he backed up now FIU defensive end Aaron Nielsen his junior year. But the main reason why Joseph has gotten looks relatively early in the recruiting process is because of his older brother Josue, who is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound freshman at Marshall.
“He’s definitely helped me out a lot,” Dieugot said of his older brother. “I take whatever I can from him. He tells me about his college experiences sometimes. He’s been a big help, you can say that. With recruiting too because when they’d look at Josue, they’d also take a look at me.”
Josue’s recruitment helped put his not-so-little brother on the radar of college coaches, but it was Dieugot who got Josue interested in football. And it was football that gave the brothers a bond they’d always share together after a tumultuous time in both of their lives’.
The father of the two boys was deported to Haiti when Dieugot was two. Then when Josue was beginning high school and Dieugot was in middle school, their mother got sick
“She was going through some things,” Josue said of his mom, a single mother who works at Disney. “The stress of life was getting to her and she ended up being hospitalized for it, she was going through some things.”
Josue was sent to New York to live with his older brother and aunt for half of a year while his mom recuperated. Dieugot was not mature enough to take care of himself up north and stayed with his cousin in Florida.
“That was like the first real time that we were ever really apart and that was just a real trying experience because we were going through a lot at the time,” Josue said. “I didn’t really have my family there with me other than my older brother. That’s just one of the things that helped shape me into the man that I am.”
Josue went to three high schools—Oak Ridge as a freshman and two schools in New York—before he returned home for his sophomore year. It was awkward for the two brothers to be apart and they had to readjust to their old lifestyle when Josue came back.
“It was a different time for me, I guess I went into a shell when I was in new York,” Josue said. “I didn’t stay connected as much as I should. I just stayed to my own. That was just a different time.”
Then came an outlet for them to take out their frustrations and develop some kind of normalcy again.
“That’s when we got football,” Dieugot said. “(Josue) came back and went to high school. He started playing football on the football team, I started playing on the football team. That was it, since then we’ve been working hard. People were telling us how good we could be because we’re big and tall and told us to keep on working, keep on working.
“Football was like our thing where we could just get away. We didn’t have to worry about anything else, just work about practice, worry about games.”
Dieugot and Josue became inseparable. Josue started working at McDonald’s and he got Dieugot a job once he was old enough.
“That was another way we spent so much time together,” Josue said. “School together, practice together and work together. “Sometimes you’re going to feel like it’s too much time, but I enjoyed spending time with him. I know that I didn’t really have such a figure for me to look up to and I feel like he might look up to me a bit. I just kind of respect that and be somebody that he can make an example of, somebody he can want to try and be like.”
The gridiron is where the brothers thrived. Dieugot began playing football as a freshman and Josue started the same year as a sophomore. Both slowly grew into their own bodies and eventually morphed into college prospects, with Josue being the measuring stick on the Freedom team.
“They would always pit me and my brother together in every drill,” Dieugot said. “Like if Josue was going, then I’d have to go too.”
Josue added: “At first I pretty much won all of them, but at the end he was winning more and more. I could see that he was definitely getting better and always progressing.”
Josue eventually got multiple offers and picked Marshall over FAU, where he originally committed. The attention he got during the recruiting process eventually spilled over to his little brother. Although Dieugot was a reserve, coaches were infatuated with his size and agility.
“I feel like his chances of opportunity is greater than mine’s were,” Josue said. “I know schools recruiting me, I’d always tell them about him. Whenever they’d come to visit me at my house or whenever they’d be at practice, he was always pointed out. We’d say that’s somebody that’s going to be somebody.”
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