NFL Draft Preview: Busari "BJ" Raji

New England Sports Correspondent IMarch 26, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 23:  Defensive lineman BJ Raji of Boston College runs during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 23, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

Regarded by NFL scouts as the premier nose tackle prospect to enter this years NFL Draft, former Boston College Eagle, BJ Raji, is quickly moving up NFL Mock Drafts everywhere. And deservedly so. 

After abusing opposing centers and tackles at the Senior Bowl, and a strong showing at the NFL combine, BJ Raji is showing the world what Boston College Eagles fans have known all along.


After four years of football and two years of basketball at Westwood Regional High School in New Jersey, Raji was labeled as just a two star prospect by recruiting sites such as Scouts Inc. & Rivals. However he received offers from not only Boston College, but Rutgers as well as Wisconsin. 

Ultimately Raji chose the Eagles, and proved to everyone that recruiting ratings don’t always mean much. You simply cannot measure the heart of a player on a five star ratings system.

In a somewhat unorthodox decision for the Eagles given their past, Raji made the team as a true freshman. He saw limited playing time, racking up just 13 tackles while playing behind starter Tim Bulman. 

However even in that limited time, the flashes of what could be a great defensive player were definitely there. And the hype surrounding Raji at the heights only grew as he entered his sophomore season.

Starting in all 12 games as a sophomore, Raji continued to improve. Showing no signs of a sophomore slump, Raiji finished off the year with 27 tackles, 6.5 of them being tackles for loss, and recording his first sack as an Eagle. 

However when things were beginning to look great for Raji, due to academic reasons, he was forced to sit out the 2007 season.

In his return to the Eagles, Raji looked like a completely different player and was well on his way to establishing himself as one of the top defensive tackles in college football.

As a junior Raji saw his best year at the college level with 16.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, and a total of 67 tackles on the year.  Starting in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against Navy for the Eagles, Raji totaled three solo tackles, two of which where tackles for loss. 

He was a key piece to what was one of the top defense’s in the country, earning himself All-ACC second team honors and had officially cemented himself as the top 3-4 DT in the country.  Along with Mark Herzlich, Raji helped to form what I consider to be one of the most potent Eagles run defense’s I’ve seen in the last decade.

Now with the draft right around the corner, BJ Raji will be joining a club that includes Matt Ryan & Gosder Cherilus as Eagles who have been selected in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last couple of years.

Some mock drafts have Raji going as high as fifth overall to the Cleveland Browns. But regardless of where Raji ends up on draft day, you can count on one thing—You will be hearing his name called during the first round. Likely within the top 10 selections of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Fun Facts:

- BJ Raji’s younger brother Corey is a shooting guard for the Boston College Eagles, and a projected second round pick in the 2010-2011 NBA Draft.

- BJ Raji himself played two years of high school basketball.

- During his high school playing days, Raji earned All-State, All-Conference, and All-County honors as a senior. Raji was also a two-time All-Bergen County Scholastic League choice.

- Raji received full offers to attend Rutgers, as well as Wisconsin, and was also highly recruited by Michigan State, as well as Iowa.


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