January 7, 2008

Fluker back at home

Defensive tackle D.J. Fluker earned himself a spot in the 2009 Rivals100 with an impressive junior year performance in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he moved with his family early last year. Now the 6-foot-7, 325-pound Crimson Tide commitment is headed back to his home state of Alabama for his senior year of high school.

"I'm going to start at Foley on Monday and I'm excited about it. I'm just very happy to be back in Alabama and playing for a good team," Fluker said. "I know Foley had a great defense last year and I just want to go in and do whatever I can to help out. Whatever coach needs I will do but I'm pretty sure I will be on the defensive line. They have a lot they can teach me and I'm excited to get the chance."

Fluker, who will turn 17 in March and already wears size 22 shoes, said that while he felt his experience in Mississippi was valuable, he is happy to be back home.

"It wasn't the best year but we made the playoffs where we lost by a touchdown. Football there was different than what I am used to but I feel like I was better as a junior that I was as a sophomore. When I was a sophomore that was my first year playing so I was still trying to figure everything out," Fluker said. "They used me at the 3-technique and I was comfortable there. I had 78 tackles and seven sacks so the season went pretty good. Other teams tried to stay away from me and I got double-teamed a lot but I did OK. I feel more comfortable after another year playing football.

"This year I want to get better as a senior. I've got a lot to work on but I'm ready to do it. I think getting my technique down better and hitting the weightroom harder will be a big difference. I'm in a better situation now that I was last year."

After giving an early commitment to Alabama, Fluker said he paid special attention to the Tide this year and is pleased with what he's seen of the team so far under Nick Saban.

"Coach Saban has Alabama headed in the right direction. That staff is defensive minded and the coaches know what they are doing. I thought they did a good job considering everything involved but the defense looked good to me and got better during the year. That's a good sign," Fluker said. "They are doing a good job recruiting and getting their players in there and that will help. There will be a lot of prospects who want to play there. That's the kind of steps that will help them out."

While it's still very early in the process, Fluker said he feels good about what he has seen at Alabama and plans to stay firm in his commitment.

"Alabama is a great school for athletics and academics. I'm fortunate to have that opportunity and I'm comfortable there. I committed because it was the perfect situation for me. Nothing has changed," Fluker said. "But I'm also going to take some visits since its so early. The Alabama staff knows about it. I just want to make sure that Alabama is the right school for me. I'm not sure where I'll go or anything like that but I know I'll be at Alabama a lot.

"I've probably got over 20 offers but I haven't counted them. Florida, Auburn, Clemson and Tennessee are some that have offered me recently."

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