Former Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker has endured his fair share of ups and downs.
Originally from New Orleans, Fluker and his family escaped Hurricane Katrina just hours before the storm decimated the area. After his family was unable to return to the area, Fluker attended three different high schools between Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama. During college, he had his apartment destroyed by a tornado that roared through Tuscaloosa in 2011.
Conversely, Fluker won two national championships as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide and was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman, All-SEC second-team, Associated Press All-American second-team and All-SEC first-team in his three-year playing career under Nick Saban.
Now he is the newest member of the San Diego Chargers as the Bolts selected Fluker with the 11th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.
“It feels great (to be a Charger),” Fluker said. “It feels great to have a brand new home.”
General Manager Tom Telesco is equally thrilled to have him on the squad.
“(In addition to) his size, he comes from a winning program and he’s going to bring a mentality that we can add to our offensive line, a physicality, a toughness we think can help both the run and pass game,” he said. “He’s a guy we think can be a cornerstone on our offensive line for a long time.”
Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 339 pounds, Fluker adds to the Chargers depth on an offensive line that already added a bunch of new pieces through free agency. Though he made 36 starts at the right tackle position for the Crimson Tide, Fluker believes he is able to play anywhere on the line at the next level.
“I never limit my abilities,” Fluker said. “I can play anywhere - right tackle, right guard, left guard, left tackle. It don’t matter. The sky is the limit.”
As a result, Head Coach Mike McCoy thinks he is an ideal fit for what he is trying to accomplish.
“He’ll be a great fit for the offensive line,” he said. “The offensive line – they are all a little different – but he’ll fit right in.”
Telesco indicated that Fluker will most likely line up at right tackle this season, but regardless of where the Chargers choose to play him, he is ready to come in and work.
When asked to describe himself, Fluker was blunt in his assessment.
“D.J. is a guy day in and day out that will go get it,” he said. “He is a guy you will go to war with for 60 minutes in a game. A guy that’s going to give you everything he’s got on every single play; a guy (who’s) also a leader of his offensive line. Me personally, I want to be the Ray Lewis of my offensive line and my team. I’m a guy that’s going to lead my team to victory and basically be the high-energy guy.”