Former Wake Forest edge rusher Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. has a nickname that is easy to remember, but for Basham, the name is something that has become part of him growing up as a defensive lineman.
“My mom raised and watched me when I was a baby. And she would just be holding me up and I would just be dancing and she was like, ‘He’s Boogie,'” Basham said on Glenn Clark Radio April 6. “That’s when everybody started calling me Boogie so I just had to go with it.”
For the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Basham, the notoriety he received for his nickname goes hand in hand with his notoriety he’s received on the football field. Regarded as one of the top edge rushers in the 2021 NFL Draft class, Basham is currently projected to be a second-round pick by Walter Football.
Basham believes that all the hype surrounding him going into the draft is well deserved.
“I’d definitely say guys my size don’t come around too often — 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, running 4.5 or 4.6 40s,” Basham said. “Then just my production all across the board and production through every year. … I don’t really see that, to me, in anybody else in this class. And that’s why I think I’m the best.”
The Roanoke, Va., native played at Northside High School before heading to college. Basham became a starter during his sophomore year for the Vikings, helping lead them to the 2013 3-A state championship. By the time Basham was a senior, he blossomed into the Virginia 3-A state Player of the Year, totaling 76 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a senior.
Basham went on to Wake Forest, just two hours down the road from his hometown of Roanoke, something that Basham said meant a lot to him.
“Yeah, definitely [it means a lot], just being able to have pretty much a lot of my family come to games,” Basham said. “Them just being close to the Wake, it was never a problem.”
During his time with the Demon Deacons, Basham quickly became one of the top players in the country and eventually shot up draft boards. From 2017-2020, Basham tallied 173 tackles, 4.0 forced fumbles and 20.5 sacks, the latter of which put him fourth all-time in Wake Forest program history.
Basham had 112 quarterback pressures across his sophomore and junior seasons, which was the most out of any returning Division I player. He also accumulated the longest streak of consecutive games with a tackle for loss in the country (23), which ended in 2020.
With the Ravens recently losing edge rushers Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency, Basham could be an intriguing pick for Baltimore in the first or second round if he falls to the Ravens. Baltimore also is a team that utilizes defensive lineman in different ways, like Basham experienced at Wake Forest.
Basham seems to think he would fit right in with the Ravens.
“I would love to be a part of that culture because that’s how we would work at Wake,” Basham said. “Defensive coaches always say defense wins the game. And for me, I love winning. I hate losing.”
Basham even has experience with star quarterback Lamar Jackson. He played against the 2019 NFL MVP in college — an experience he said was a rough one.
“You never know what you were going to get, and our defensive scheme was mainly just to contain him and keep him in the backfield,” Basham said. “And as the great player he is, it was very, very hard for us that game.”
Basham participated in Wake Forest’s pro day March 31, but the work didn’t stop there for the former Demon Deacon in preparation for the NFL Draft. Basham says he has been working out in Arizona with two other top defensive line prospects in Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Pittsburgh’s Rashad Weaver.
He says this has helped him grow even more in the weeks leading up to the draft.
“They made me a better person and also a better pass rusher and better edge defender. A better everything,” Basham said. “Just being out there and being able to compete with the best. That’s the best thing you can possibly do.”
Friends for now, Paye and Weaver will be his competition on draft night, vying for a spot on a NFL roster. But despite Paye and Weaver being projected to be drafted above Basham, “Boogie” has a clear message to NFL teams on why he is the right pick for a team in need of an edge rusher.
“I always say just cut the film on it,” Basham said. “You’ll see it. That’s all I’ll say.”
For more from Basham, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics