B. J. Raji

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B. J. Raji
B.J. Raji.jpg
Raji against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011.
No. 90     Green Bay Packers
Nose tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-07-11) July 11, 1986 (age 27)
Place of birth: New York, New York
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 337 lb (153 kg)
Career information
High school: Westwood (NJ) Regional
College: Boston College
NFL Draft: 2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
Debuted in 2009 for the Green Bay Packers
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2013
Tackles 129
Sacks 10.5
Rushing Touchdowns 1
Interceptions 1
Touchdowns 1
Stats at NFL.com

Busari "B. J." Raji, Jr. (born July 11, 1986) is an American football nose tackle for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Boston College. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the ninth overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Early years[edit]

A three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines at Westwood Regional High School, he earned All-State, All-Conference, and All-County honors as a senior. Raji was also a two-time All-Bergen County Scholastic League choice. In 2003, he recorded 75 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. He was selected to play in the 2004 Governor's Bowl, a game played between the top high-school seniors in New Jersey and New York.

Considered a two-star recruit by Rivals.com, Raji was not ranked among the top defensive tackle prospects of the class of 2004, which also included DeMario Pressley, Frank Okam, and Glenn Dorsey.[1] Raji chose to attend Boston College over Rutgers and Wisconsin.[2]

College career[edit]

Raji made the Eagles as a true freshman in 2004, playing in a rotation behind senior Tim Bulman. He made his college debut in the home opener against Penn State, making one tackle. He finished the year with 13 tackles (6 solos) and 1.5 tackles for loss.[3]

As a sophomore, Raji started in all twelve games, registering 27 tackles (20 solos), 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and one pass breakup. He recorded one unassisted tackle against Boise State in the MPC Computers Bowl.[3]

In his 2006 junior season, Raji started in 12 games, finishing with 63 career tackles (37 solos), 16.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and four pass breakups. He also had three solo stops, including two tackles for loss in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Navy.

Raji missed the 2007 season due to academic reasons. Returning to the team in 2008, he started on a defense that included Ron Brace, Kevin Akins, Mark Herzlich, Robert Francois, and Brian Toal, anchoring the defense to a berth in the 2008 Music City Bowl. Over his four year college career, Raji amassed 99 tackles (23 for a loss) and 9 sacks,[3] and was named all-ACC twice, in 2006 as a 2nd-team member and in 2008 as a first-team starter.[4][5]

Professional career[edit]

2009 NFL Draft[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 1⅜ in 337 lb 5.12 s 1.69 s 2.93 s 4.69 s 7.90 s 32 in 8 ft 7 in 33 reps
All values from NFL Combine[6][7]

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Raji was selected ninth overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was worked into defensive coordinator Dom Capers' brand new 3-4 scheme during the start of the Packers 2009 season, and was regarded as a defensive tackle. Raji held out during the 2009 training camp and completed his deal on August 14. Hampered by an ankle injury for the entire season, he appeared in fourteen games (once as a starter), and only managed 25 tackles and 1 sack.

BJ Raji 1 BJ Raji, August 2011

Fully healed and expected to fully contribute for the 2010 season, Raji earned the starting position at nose tackle in Capers' defense, moving previous starter Ryan Pickett to defensive end. 2010 was a breakout season: starting in all 16 games, Raji became the defensive anchor that the Packers had envisioned, accumulating 39 tackles with 6.5 sacks, along with 3 passes defended.

The Packers began using Raji as an additional fullback in their goal-line offense during the 2011 postseason, which led to Raji nicknaming himself "The Freezer" in homage to William Perry, who played for the Bears and was nicknamed "The Fridge".[8][9] On January 23, 2011, in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field in Chicago, Raji intercepted a pass from Bears third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie and returned it 18 yards to the end zone, marking Raji's first career interception and touchdown.[8] The 337-pound Raji performed a memorable hula dance after the touchdown, an incident that was parodied in a State Farm Insurance commercial featuring Raji and Aaron Rodgers.[10] The play also broke William Perry's NFL record for the heaviest player to score a post-season touchdown.[8][11] The touchdown proved to be the decisive score, and with that interception, Packers advanced to Super Bowl XLV, where they defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.

In the 2011 offseason, Raji was ranked #81 by his peers on NFL Network's Top 100 Greatest Players of 2011, where he was presented by New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara. In early August 2011, Raji was named the co-host of the "In The Huddle" radio show along with longtime Wisconsin sports reporter Bill Scott. The one hour show airs live from Tanner's Sports Bar in Kimberly, WI near Green Bay.

During a week 11 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on November 20, Raji scored a rushing touchdown. He was only the fourth defensive lineman to score a rushing touchdown since the NFL/AFL merger.[12]

On December 28, 2011 He was elected to his first Pro Bowl appearance.

NFL stats[edit]

Year Team Games Combined Tackles Tackles Assisted Tackles Sacks Forced Fumbles Fumble Recoveries Fumble Return Yards Interceptions Interception Return Yards Yards per Interception Return Longest Interception Return Interceotions Returned for Touchdown Passes Defended
2009 GB 14 25 19 6 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2010 GB 16 39 29 10 6.5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
2011 GB 16 22 14 8 3.0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2
2012 GB 14 26 16 10 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
2013 GB 16 17 12 5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 76 129 90 39 10.5 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8

[13]

B. J. Raji during the January 15, 2012 game against the New York Giants.

Personal[edit]

B. J. Raji is the oldest of Mamie and Busari Raji, Sr.'s three children. His youngest brother, Ade, is currently a senior at Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School in Bergen County, New Jersey. His younger brother, Corey Raji, is a professional basketball player. Busari Raji's father immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria. Both his parents are Pentecostal ministers. He currently lives in Washington Township, New Jersey.

B. J. is the first cousin of rhythm and blues singer Rahsaan Patterson.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]