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Without fail, The Beast says, he carves out a few minutes each day to hear baby chatter from a toddler.

Junior running back Devontae Booker hasn't seen his son, who lives with his mother in California, for a month now, but thanks to FaceTime and Skype he's able to watch Deashon grow and learn.

And on Saturdays — or Thursdays, as was the case in Corvallis — The Beast rages on the 1-year-old's account.

Thus, the Utes have won.

Because John White IV was "The Wolfman," it seems Utah's newest junior college revelation required a haunting stage name of his own, and fans have settled on "The Beast" or "Book Mode."

The former — although not original — suits him in that Booker's running style is to seek out defenders and trample them. Defenses load up the box with an angry mob of linemen, backers and safeties. And his breakthrough performances have come under moonlight.

Like the storybook Beast, he has a softer side, said American River College head coach Jon Osterhaut (who, incidentally, prefers to call him "The Book Show").

Osterhaut did not take long to notice that Booker is an unusually talented running back — "He's the best I've been around," he said. After arriving at ARC, Booker ran gassers in summer conditioning and "blew everybody out of the water." The first time they handed him the football, he made one cut in the backfield, juked the safety and ran over another defender.

It took longer, however, to see the twinkling eyes and quick smile he shares with those he knows well.

"I'm sure he's very quiet [at Utah]," Osterhaut said. "He's not a boisterous, loud guy. He acts like he's been there before."

Which is not to say that he's careful to appear humble. He's not shy about his opinion that Utah will succeed if they give him the ball. He said as much in spring, when Utah coaches and media had the same first impressions as Osterhaut. And shoot — so far, he has been correct.

"Devontae has done a phenomenal job," said offensive coordinator Dave Christensen. "He does a great job setting up his blocks, utilizing his line, and is a physical runner. We're lucky to have him out there."

Last Thursday, Booker rushed 32 times for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-winner in double overtime, during which teammate Westlee Tonga observed that the Beavers weren't too fond of trying to tackle him anymore.

Booker said his violent running style is born out of love, though, for the tiny boy whom he calls "my twin" for his strikingly similar facial features.

"The way I run, he's basically pushing me," Booker said. "I just go out there every day blessed for this opportunity I have now, being up here and having him in my life."

Now, to keep it up. Booker has 89 carries in the past three games, and Whittingham said at Monday's news conference that he's not sure they can rely on him to maintain that pace. (Of course, Booker disagrees.)

Also, Utah's quarterbacks and receivers have given defenses little reason not to sell out in pursuit of Booker — ranked last in the conference in throwing yards per game.

"Oregon State tried to do it," Booker said. "They tried to bring eight, nine in the box at times, and I believe they're going to do so this week, too. They're going to want us to pass, make us pass."

If Utah can do so, it will only make Booker's job that much easier.

If not, and they have to lean on him again, well, Booker will take that, too.

Devontae Booker file

Measurements • 5-foot-11, 203 pounds

Background • High school star at Grant Union High, a Northern California powerhouse which produced former Utah receiver Paris Warren and Minnesota Vikings running back Onterrio Smith. Head coach Mike Alberghini told The Tribune in March that Booker was on a par with Smith as a prep. After failing to qualify for both Washington State and Fresno State, Booker went to American River College in Sacramento and was first-team all-Valley Conference — standing out not only as a running back, but as a kick returner. First signed with Utah in 2013 but was ruled ineligible for academic reasons and sat out last season.

At Utah • Despite getting just 31 carries in his first three games, ranks second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game (almost 124) and third in rushing touchdowns (7). Was named Athlon Sports' National Player of the week after rushing for 229 yards and three touchdowns in a double overtime win against Oregon State.