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Sat., Apr. 04, 2015 9:00 AM PDT
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All You Need to Know About D.J. Fluker
But no, if you ask Fluker for the highlight of his rookie season, he’d tell you it was the day in mid-July when he watched via mobile phone as his mother, younger brother and two younger sisters for the first time moved into the new home that D.J. had purchased for them in their adopted hometown of Mobile, Alabama.
Fluker may have been the Chargers’ first-round pick in 2013, the two-time national champion right tackle from Alabama who started 17 games (playoffs included) for the Bolts, but that only scratches the surface of the giant young man underneath the helmet.
Fluker, the D.J. standing for Daniel Lee Jesus Fluker, was born in New Orleans and spent the majority of his childhood in the Bayou city living in the infamous Lower Ninth Ward. That was until Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 and started Fluker’s life spinning. When the hurricane hit, the
As Fluker became a star defensive tackle on the football field, he worked his tail off away from it. He did odd jobs to help out Annice financially. He cut grass, he power washed houses, he built cabinets and piers, he worked in retail stores and he cleaned trailers. He also became one of the most popular and well-liked students at McGill-Toolen and people went out of their way to help the Flukers. Prior to his junior year of high school, personal issues forced Annice to move the family back to Biloxi. This time, however, the family’s temporary home - a trailer - was burned down due to kids playing with matches. Ultimately the Flukers returned to Alabama, this time settling in Foley for Fluker’s senior year. It was at Foley High School that Fluker moved from defensive tackle to offensive tackle and it opened the door for him to attend the University of Alabama.
At Alabama, Fluker became a cornerstone at right tackle and a three-time BCS champion. Fluker started 27 of 27 games at right tackle over the 2011-12 seasons at Alabama. A second-team Associated Press All-America and first-team All-Southeastern Conference pick as a junior in 2012, Fluker opted to make himself available for the 2013 NFL Draft after grading out at 98.6% on his blocking assignments. His junior year, Fluker surrendered only four sacks and he was flagged just two times as the Crimson Tide finished the season 13-1 and 7-1 in the SEC. Fluker also earned a degree in health studies in just 3 1/2 years and because of that he was invited to participate in Senior Bowl activities, which helped bolster his draft stock.
Fluker’s rookie season was a success by all accounts. He earned all-rookie honors and his teammates chose him as one of the team’s co-most inspirational players. So impressive was Fluker that late in the year he walked into Head Coach Mike McCoy’s office and asked for permission to address the team at a time when he felt like some of his teammates weren’t giving maximum effort. It was a momentum-changing experience for the whole team, which rallied around Fluker as the Bolts won their last four games of the regular season en route to the playoffs. Fluker’s play helped the Chargers tie for fourth in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed and he also played a big role in the ground game as the Chargers rushed for over 100 yards in 12 of 16 games during the regular season, including four straight and seven of eight to close out the year.