Bengals defensive tackles will feature DJ Reader and Larry Ogunjobi

When D.J. Reader was at Grimsley High School, a few of his biggest plays came with him lined up at fullback. Reader was a 6-foot-3, 325-pound high school senior, and Grimsley’s football team in North Carolina often lined Reader up in the backfield and had him barrel through the line of scrimmage for a first down.

One of the only players who could stop him was Ragsdale High School’s Larry Ogunjobi.

“I got him,” Ogunjobi said. “They had (Reader) playing fullback, and he thought he would just run the ball. Nope.”

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Ten years later, Reader and Ogunjobi are back together as the Cincinnati Bengals projected starting defensive tackles in 2021.

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo paces the sideline in the fourth quarter during a Week 17 NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Baltimore Ravens won, 38-3. The Cincinnati Bengals finished with 2020 season 4-11-1.

It’s hard to find two Bengals players whose games have changed as much as Reader and Ogunjobi have on their way to the NFL. In high school, Reader was a two-way player and was recruited as an offensive guard. But even his path to the NFL was more straightforward than Ogunjobi’s.

“I’ve watched (Ogunjobi) grow and got to know him a lot more in the league,” Reader said. “I know he’s a really, really good player. I love his game. I love what he’s done to his body. If you’ve known him since high school like I’ve known him, you’d see how much he’s changed his body and just how much of a missile he has become.”

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