SAN DIEGO — D.J. Fluker has hands the size of small frying pans, a shoe size of 22. On Thursday, the Chargers made a sizeable choice, literally, using their 11th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft to select the 22-year-old, 6 foot 5 inch, 339 pound offensive tackle.
Not more than 24 hours following their selection, the Chargers organization introduced Fluker to San Diego. Fluker, who said he hadn’t yet slept since being drafted, wasn’t short on excitement, either, as demonstrated by his constant ear-to-ear grin.
Coming from the University of Alabama, he said that his experiences playing there under Head Coach Nick Saban was already like being in the NFL.
“The program, from the workout standpoint, just about the same; working hard day-in, day-out, they have to do it,” Fluker said. “They all say it’s voluntary, but it’s mandatory because you want to win a championship and you want to build that program up.”
Fluker is coming into the Chargers organization having earned three championship rings during his years playing with the Crimson Tide.
Born in Mobile, Ala., his father was in the Army and the family had moved around a little bit, but Fluker grew up mostly in Louisiana. He said he isn’t one to take life for granted. In 2005, he and his family fled New Orleans hours before Hurricane Katrina hit. His house was destroyed, and his family went back only once during the aftermath, just to see the damage the hurricane had done. The family never returned to live there.
Fluker said the first thing he’s going to buy for his mom is a new house.
Known for his energetic approach to the game, Fluker certainly knows how to have fun with the game, and how to do a little bit of trash talking on the field, too.
“I have fun with it,” he said. “There’s no point of being on the field if you’re not having fun. I enjoy the game,” he added.
He didn’t start playing the game until he was in high school — his appreciation for the game came not long after, he said.
“I thought it was fun, but I really didn’t start understanding it until my senior year of high school and that’s when I started to like it, because…you could hit somebody and not go to jail for it,” he said.
“I enjoy playing. Football is my escape from everything; it’s like a different world,” he said.
Fluker has also set some lofty goals as he begins his NFL career with the Chargers: “I’m working toward being a Pro-Bowler, a Hall-of-Famer in the next 15 years to come. Those are my goals; I set my goals high. I want to be in the Pro Bowl every single year; I want to be a leader. That’s what I bring to the table, the high energy, and bring it to my team.”
On Friday night, the Chargers traded up during the second round of the draft to select inside linebacker Manti Te’o from Notre Dame, and selected wide receiver Keenan Allen from the University of California in the third round.