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B. J. Raji


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B. J. Raji

 

Busari "B.J." Raji, Jr. (born July 11, 1986), nicknamed "The Freezer" is an American football nose tackle for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the 9th overall selection in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football at Boston College.

Early years/College career

Raji is named after his Nigerian father, Busari. Busari Junior was shortened to "B.J." at Westwood Regional High School in Washington Township, New Jersey. A three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines, 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 chose to attend Boston College over Rutgers and Wisconsin.

College career

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.

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.

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 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 2009 Music City Bowl. Over his four year college career, Raji amassed 99 tackles (23 for a loss) and 9 sacks,[2] and was named all-ACC twice, in 2006 as a 2nd-team member and in 2008 as a first-team starter.

Professional career

 



2009 NFL Draft

Green Bay Packers

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 corner. 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.

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". 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. It also broke William Perry's NFL record for the heaviest player to score a post-season touchdown at 337 pounds. The touchdown proved to be the decisive factor as the 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 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 of 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.

Personal

B. J. Raji is the oldest of Mamie and Busari Raji, Sr.'s three children. His youngest brother, Ade, is currently a sophomore at Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School in Bergen County, New Jersey. His younger brother, Corey, is a senior forward on the Boston College basketball team.[10] Busari Raji's father immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria. Both his parents are Pentecostal ministers.

B. J. is the first cousin of rhythm and blues singer Rahsaan Patterson.

 

 

Data.Logbaby.com - Autobiography of B.J. Raji

 

 

 

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