Current Chargers OL, Former Alabama and Draft Prospect, D.J. Fluker Interview
D.J. Fluker is projected to be a first round draft pick by almost every NFL Draft Analyst. Fluker played at Alabama and was First-Team All SEC this past year after winning his third National Championship. He was a force that could not be reckoned with on Bama’s offensive line. There hasn’t been a stronger right tackle prospect in this year’s class. Look for his name to be called tonight, but first, check out our exclusive interview with him.
Hey! This is DJ Fluker, former Alabama Crimson Tide, Three-Time National Champion, and I just want to say thank y’all for listening in to ProInterviews.org and Roll Tide!
Announcement : D.J. Fluker is projected to be a first round draft pick by almost every NFL Draft Analyst. Fluker played at Alabama and was First-Team All SEC this past year after winning his third National Championship. He was a force that could not be reckoned with on Bama’s offensive line. There hasn’t been a stronger right tackle prospect in this year’s class. Look for his name to be called tonight, but first, check out our exclusive interview with him.
Max Strauss : How are excited are you to be attending the NFL Draft? People are talking that you’ll go in the first round, but just a year ago, you were watching teammates attend the NFL Draft.
DJ Fluker : It’s a great experience to watch my guys, but now I’m the guy that is going through it now. I can’t wait. I’m excited about it, and I’m enjoying the opportunity.
Strauss : Let’s say this is during the first round of the NFL Draft, and a team calls you up, and says, “We have this pick. Why should we select you?” What’s your best answer for that?
Fluker : I would tell them this right here. I would say: I’m going to be a guy that brings energy to the team, every single day, in practice, in the film room, even when its hot and you don’t want to practice, I’m the guy that’s going to bring the energy to the table. I’m a guy who will go out there and give everything that I got. I rely on my faith because my faith is what carries through each practice. I am going to keep on going until I have nothing left until you take me out in an ambulance or on a stretcher and say, “He’s done for the day.” I’m the type of guy who loves playing ball. I’m the type of guy who wants do all the little things right, trying to get better and wanting to get better.
I actually enjoy playing. It’s not about the money, it’s about going out there with a group of guys who want to go out there and win a Championship, win a Super Bowl. Those are my goals. That’s what I’m going to bring to a team. I want to get my teammates fired up, and keep them going. Those are the types of things that I bring to the table, so if you pick me, you won’t regret it. I’m a guy that you will be seeing, day-in and day-out, for the next eighteen years of your life.
Strauss : That is a great answer, and you hear the energy that you have. Who would you compare your game to in the NFL?
Fluker : I would compare myself to Jason Peters, but mixed with a little Ray Lewis at the same time. I got the leadership skills. I’m a great player. I play hard. I give great effort. I take it to them. I’m a guy, day-in, day-out. There are “No Days Off.” That’s how I feel about it. I say Ray Lewis on leadership skills, but compare my game to Jason Peters and I get after them. That’s the type of guy you want on your team.
Strauss : Left Tackle or Right Tackle, is there a position you prefer of the two? Or, are you “line me up, and let me play”?
Fluker : To be honest, I could play any position. I can play right guard, left guard, left tackle, right tackle. If you give me a chance to work at it, I’m going to be a player that will do it. I’m going to be a player that you won’t have to worry about. I’m going to be a lot better than anybody else, because I will make sure my job is done.
Strauss : Here’s a chance to give some love to someone who you played against. Do you have an opponent think was the most challenging that you dealt with on the defensive side on the ball? What player stood out to you when you played against them and that you found joy in the competition that he brought to you?
Fluker : I think it was [LSU] Barkevious Mingo. The guy has a motor, day-in and day-out. We are good friends, but I enjoyed going against him because he was going to make me work. That is one thing that he is going to make you do. He will make you work, because he wants to beat you every play. I love guys like that because it makes you play hard. It makes you want to go out there and give everything that you got. That’s one guy I enjoyed going against all year. I waited for that game all year. I put it on my calendar, and marked it down in ink that I was coming for him. He’s mine. I was coming for him. That’s how you have to play every game though, the same way.
Strauss : You grew up in New Orléans, Louisiana. When did you start playing football, and what position were you when you started?
Fluker : When I first started playing football, it was probably in the eighth grade, and I didn’t really understand the whole process of it, but I took time and I learned it. I played defensive tackle and that was the first position I played. From there on, in high school, I played defensive tackle, and some defensive end, until I got to my senior year of high school. I went to Foley High School and I played left tackle. My coach told me, “You’re wasting your ability. You need to come play offensive tackle for me.” That was the way to help my team out, and I did it. We made the playoffs, but we lost to Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama, but it showed me that I can do it.
Strauss : And you moved around too in high school because of Hurricane Katrina. How do you think the adversity you had to go through dealing with Katrina had kind of shaped you as a person today and made you a better athlete as well?
Fluker : It really made me more grateful for being alive, and grateful for my family, because that could have been any one of us, drowning or dying. It makes you grateful to be alive. You thank God every day that you had a little opportunity to actually wake up. Take life for what it is. Things like that make you more grateful, just for life in general. When it comes to football, it makes you work harder, because at any point in time, it wasn’t given to me. God gave me a little blessing.
Strauss : What was the whole recruiting experience like for you? You go to three different high schools, and now coming out you’re deciding between one school and it’s kind of, “This is going to be my home for the next four years.” What was that experience like for you?
Fluker : It was hard, at first. I had like ten or twenty schools I could go to. It was kind of hard to narrow if down to one school. I went down out to Alabama. My Auntie Jackie passed away in 2005 from cancer, but I still went. I had a lot people tell me that, “I think you should go to Alabama. It may be a great school for you” and so on, and so forth. Coach Saban went to LSU back in 2003, and when I watched that Championship, and I was like, “I want to be a guy that wins Championships” because I never won a state championship in high school.
When Coach Saban left the Miami Dolphins and went to Alabama, I was like, “Hey, I got my chance now.” I got a chance to prove to the world what I can do and hopefully win that National Championship for Alabama. I didn’t get to play my first year, I got red-shirted. I started playing offense tackle, but after that, I got used to it. I got better as a player and worked at it, and actually got better. I got three National Championships altogether; I got two back-to-back. It was a blessing. On top of that, I actually graduated college last year. It’s just been on a roll ever since then.
Strauss : You’re accomplishing so much right now in college, and now you have a lot of potential to accomplish a lot in the NFL world. More to college, being the #1 prospect, you have a hunger to play. What was it like to be a red-shirt and learn on Bama’s roster?
Fluker : The guy I went to and who I learned the most from was Drew Davis. He was the former Right Tackle that was there. I went to Barrett Jones as well, and told them that I wanted to play. The best thing I could have done was stay inside the film room, and actually learn how to read defensive ends, and how to execute on blocking schemes. It was great to learn how they change throughout the course of the game. I learned that from both of the guys. Both guys taught me how to adjust to when defenses shift around, and learn how to block on the right.
I learned a lot from Drew Davis. He was like my big brother. He took me under his wing, and taught me everything he knew. I picked his brain for everything, every bit I could.
Strauss : Alabama’s history speaks for itself when we talk about National Championships, and how you’ve started for this team in those games. What’s it like looking back at this Alabama program for what you accomplished, personally and as a team?
Fluker : It’s a great feeling. I accomplished goals that I never thought I could accomplish, even though I set goals to get them. I set the goal to get All-SEC Freshman, I got that. Academic All-American, I got that. I didn’t get myself the Outland Trophy though. That’s one thing I wanted to get. Another goal I set for myself was to graduate college.
Playing on a team for Nick Saban was probably the best thing I have ever done in my life. Playing with these teammates, going to the championship with the entire offense line. Playing with these guys brought the best out of me and it was also more of a home fit for me. I gave everything I got in practice, at games, because I wanted to win. Everybody into the program. There will be no other college like Alabama to have a program like them. They have a great coaching staff that wants to sit with you after hours to work on all the little things with you. There is really no place like it.
Strauss : Will you talk about each National Championship that you were apart of? Talk about those experiences, your sophomore year, and your junior year.
Fluker : It’s all good to me. I had a great time. We all went in there, and worked hard. We tried to win a National Championship, an SEC Championship, and we tried to go undefeated. Those were our goals, and we set them, and we did them because we bought into the program. That’s the best thing you can have. When all 22 people who play together on offense and defense buy into the program. I was a guy who always had the energy, and wanted to set the tempo early in the game.
We had a great running back in Trent Richardson back when we beat LSU in the Championship. We looked to this guy on offense to help make things happen. This past year, we had Eddie Lacy. They are two great running backs. In addition, we had Jalston Fowler. Both of those guys really made an impact this season as well. We won back to back Championships, and we had one of the best offensive lines in the country. Rushing wise, we did everything we could to get off the ball. That’s the main thing in being team. There’s no ‘i’ in team, but there is in win. Each individual was asked to do their job. When you got guys like that on the team, there is no team that we can not beat. No team.
Strauss : Have you ever taken a snap or fullback in a heavy-set?
Fluker : That was only in high school. (Laughs).
Strauss : Did you score a touchdown though?
Fluker : I almost did. I only got only one carry in high school, and then, that was about it.
Strauss : If it is all about getting your job done. I would imagine you have to explore the opportunity go in at fullback, and tell coach, ‘Put me in.’
Fluker : That’s it. Tell coach, “Put me in. Put me on the field! I’m that guy. I’m the guy you need.” You have to let me get loose.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Fluker (Uncut) : Laughs. I guess rocky road. Laughs. Uh… Why? It tastes good, with a little kick to it. There’s a kick at the end.
Strauss : You’re a guy who has a lot of future star potential. You’ve always been a top player, whether it’s high school, now college coming out, trying to impress teams. Looking back and seeing this side of sports, especially being at different high schools. What’s the advice you can give to someone who is maybe in a similar situation, but just younger than you?
Fluker : If I had a chance to give advice to someone younger, I would tell them to be humble and actually work hard. Every day is an opportunity to get better at something. You got to hate losing. Sometimes, you got to hate losing so bad that you hate yourself for it, so you can get out there and do something to actually help yourself. I would also say to take care of your grades. If you want to go to college, you have to stay on top of your grades. I would also say to watch film. Watch film early in high school so you can understand it more in college. Those are the main things that I would tell somebody younger in my predicament.
Strauss : This question I’m going to be bring back, and I’ve gathered great answers for it. I know you won’t short me on an answer for this one too. What’s your favorite quote?
Fluker : “Hungry Dogs Run Faster.” It means that the guy who is hungry, starving the most, is the one who will make it. The guy who is willing to give everything that he got and willing to die for what he believes in. That’s the guy who is going to eat at the end of the day. That’s the guy who is going to be successful. That’s the guy wants it bad enough that he puts himself over boundaries and limits and makes sacrifices to be the best he can be.
[Discussed before the hacking of his twitter account] Strauss : You’re very active on social media and always getting back to fans and following fans, and that’s something that’s rare for athletes to do. Why do you do that? Why do you give back to the fans so much?
Fluker : Those are the people who support me. Those are the people who look at my tweets, and all that as motivation. It’s not only for people that play football; it’s also for people who actually have a 9-5 job. That’s the main thing. Because here’s the thing, I could be doing the same exact thing they do, working nine to five. After football’s done, I plan on getting me a job too as well to keep getting revenue. That’s the main thing, I love to work with kids, and maybe I’ll become a nurse or be a pediatrician.
If people have great tweets as well, I’m the type of guy who will follow you too. Sometimes, I’ll retweet you, and sometimes, I’ll talk to kids on there as well. They all need motivation.
Strauss : It’s very impressive to see that you connect back and not just read tweets, but you also reply to them, and re-tweet, and you are very active. Starting off you when you were in high school it wasn’t really a big deal to have social media and everything. Is it a prideful thing to be able to give back to fans and reply back to the people who support you?
Fluker : It’s important to me. I want to show people who I am a down to earth guy. For instance, last summer I worked at a place called Mama Lou’s in Robertsdale, Alabama, and I was just busting tables and I think it shows people who I can be a normal guy and that I can have a conversation with you without thinking. I want people to see that I have a normal personality and that I’m not stuck up. I’ll come talk to you because I’m a guy that loves talking to everybody. That’s the main thing. I want to show people who I can converse with you and just have a good time.
Strauss : Is there anything you want to tell your fans?
Fluker : I just want to tell all the fans thanks for the support that they’re giving me. I just want to tell them that I appreciate it, and I’m grateful for it. Thank you for sticking by me, and Roll Tide.
Strauss : I want to thank you for your time DJ. I appreciate it.
Fluker : Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
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