Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty (6-1, 205 lbs)
There are players you watch and wonder why more people aren’t talking about them. A small-school cornerback is one of these names in 2014.
Walt Aikens is a name that hasn’t received the circulation that some at his position have, but all that is just another motivation tool pushing on the talented former Liberty Flames star.
Aikens, who began his colleigate career at Illinois before a mis-step off the field saw his departure from the program, landed at Liberty. It’s an incident and subsequent process which Aikens feels he has benefited from in the long run.
“Since I got to Liberty, I’ve matured a lot and really took to studying the game more- learning the reasoning behind certain schemes and play calling. Just working on perfecting my craft.”
The 6ft 1in corner added when he arrived at Liberty he was out to do one thing.
“My whole mindset was to dominate, I had a chip on my shoulder in that I wanted to prove that I deserved to be playing big time football and I feel like I did that.”
A look at the stats certainly backs that up. During his three years at the school he was twice named to the All-Big South Second team (in 2011 and 2012) and finished his career with First team All-Big South honours as senior whilst amassing 62 tackles, 3.5 for a loss with 1 sack and 3 INT’s and six pass break-ups.
Along with the accolades he also received an invite to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. During his week-long stay in Mobile, Aikens was one of the standout performers during a week he says was enjoyable.
“It was a great experience. I got positive feedback from all the teams I talked to (during the week) and that just motivated me to play harder.”
Post-Senior Bowl saw Aikens receive another layer added to the chip on his shoulder as he wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine, something he says he didn’t feel slighted by despite his showing in Mobile.
“I use this chip on my shoulder as a motivating factor. As a little something extra to remind me that I have to shine. That (not getting an invite) was just that. If I wasn’t going to the Combine, I thought I’d bring the combine to me (with my Pro Day).
At Liberty’s Pro Day, that chance to shine was grasped as Walt himself describes: “My pro day was a success, some were questioning my speed so I felt my 40 times (unofficially 4.37 & 4.39) set that record straight.” On the day he also registerd a 38″ vertical leap, a 10ft 5in broad jump in front of a audience which had representatives from 28 NFL teams.
The Pro Day was just the latest part of this draft process and it is one that Aikens says he is enjoying and learning from.
“It’s been fun. It is alot to take in but I’m embracing it. I’ve learned that from now on it’s all about buisness and you have to do something extra to get noticed and seperate yourself from the pack.”
The confident Aikens has been told that there won’t be much downtime between now and draft week.
“I’ve been told that I’m going to be very busy. I’ve already had two private workouts with the Bears and Jaguars and another one set-up. I’m also set for visits with Arizona, Kansas City and Cincinnati also.”
Talking of his play, Aikens adds that he likes to get physical with WR’s and is looking forward to going up against the best of the best in the NFL.
He added: “Playing Man suits me, getting physical. I like the way Richard Sherman plays the game. Also with how he got more teams to notice bigger corners.”
After his performance at the Senior Bowl followed up with his pro day showing, the buzz will continue to grow around Aikens between now and Draft week.
“Right now it looks like it’s anywhere betweeen rounds three through five (where I’ll get picked). For me it doesn’t matter who picks me, all I need is my name called. Once I get my foot in that door I plan on tearing that door down.”
Oh and also, Walt Aikens can do this…