Originally Published: Jul 23, 2010 10:51 AM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Former Northeast Oklahoma A&M and Putnam City North running back Deji Karim agreed to a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday.
The Jaguars selected Karim with the No. 180 overall selection in the sixth round of April’s NFL Draft, and he is now the fifth of the team’s six draft picks to sign a contract. First-round pick Tyson Alualu is Jacksonville’s only remaining unsigned draftee.
Karim played with former OU quarterback and No. 1 overall selection Sam Bradford at P.C. North and began his college career at Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College, where he rushed for 25 touchdowns in two years.
Karim transferred to Southern Illinois for his final two seasons and continued to have success. With the Salukis, Karim rushed for 2,080 yards and 26 touchdowns on 316 attempts, an average of 6.6 yards per carry. He rushed for more than 100 yards in nine games his senior year and was named Missouri Valley Offensive Player of the Year.
Karim also led Southern Illinois to a conference title in his senior season and set a school record with 2,339 all-purpose yards. He led the Football Championship Subdivision with 1,694 rushing yards and recorded nine touchdown runs longer than 20 yards, including two of more than 90 yards.
While teaming with Bradford at P.C. North, Karim rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns in his senior season alone.
Karim stands at 5-foot-8 and 209 pounds and is physically almost identical to the Jaguars’ top running back, Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones-Drew is 5-foot-7 and 208 pounds and combines quickness and lower-body strength, as does Karim.
Both players are also dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. Jones-Drew finished fourth in the NFL last season with 1,391 rushing yards and also caught 53 passes for 374 yards.
Karim’s full name is Abdul-Gafar Olatokumbo Ayodeji Lamar Karim, but it was shortened to Deji – which means “pure happiness” – at birth.