Deji Karim becomes the 21st Saluki in program history to be taken in the NFL Draft
April 24, 2010
By Jason Clay
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Deji Karim, Southern Illinois running back from 2007-09, was selected in the sixth round with the 180th overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2010 National Football League Draft on Saturday, April 24.
Karim becomes the 21st Saluki selected in the NFL Draft and the fifth running back. He is the first SIU player taken since 2004, when the New York Giants selected running back Brandon Jacobs with the 110th overall pick in the fourth round.
"This is a very exciting time for Deji and the Saluki football program," Southern Illinois head coach Dale Lennon said. "We're extremely proud of the recognition that Deji has received as a draft choice and look forward to his continued success as a NFL player.
"This accomplishment is a strong testament to the commitment of many individuals through the years that has allowed SIU football the ability to attract premier student-athletes such as Deji Karim. This is a memorable day for the Saluki Nation."
Karim came to Southern Illinois after two seasons at Northeast Oklahoma A&M Junior College. He led the Salukis in 2007 with eight rushing touchdowns, but missed the 2008 season with a knee injury.
He burst onto the national scene in 2009 with an all-world year, as he led the Football Championship Subdivision with 1,694 rushing yards and guided Southern Illinois to the No. 1 national ranking for three weeks, its second-straight Missouri Valley Football Conference Championship and the Elite Eight of the FCS Playoffs. Karim broke the SIU single-season record for all-purpose yards (2,339) and showed his versatility by averaging 30.9 yards on 14 kickoff returns with one touchdown.
The 5-9, 200-pound running back had a long laundry list of awards in his senior season. He was named a first team All-American by four different services and was the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year. Karim finished third in the voting for the 2009 Walter Payton Award, which is given out to the most outstanding player in the FCS.
He finished his career with 2,080 rushing yards, 26 rushing touchdowns, 10 career 100-yard rushing games and averaged 6.58 yards per carry. Karim only fumbled once in 351 career touches at Southern Illinois.
Karim, a native of Oklahoma City, Okla. was a Putnam City North High School teammate of Sam Bradford, the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft. He joins former Salukis Bart Scott (linebacker - New York Jets) and Jacobs in the NFL.