Walt Aikens was a first team All-Big South selection this season after he picked off three passes. Aiken is a big, physical corner who took the time to participate in an interview with Pro Football Spot. (Photo credit: libertyflamesnation.com)
Walt Aikens was a Big 10 freshman All-American at Illinois in 2009, finishing the season with 32 tackles and two pass breakups before transferring to Liberty. After transferring to Liberty, Aikens took over one of the cornerback roles and ran with it. Aiken is a big, physical cornerback standing at almost 6’1” and 200 pounds, he has great size for the NFL. In 2011, his first season with Flames, he had 49 tackles and three forced fumbles. In 2012, Aikens he was named Big South Second Team for the second consecutive year when he finished the season with 51 tackles, three forced fumbles and seven passes defensed. This past season Aikens played in all 12 games, grabbing three interceptions and was named to the First Team All-Big South team.
First off I want to say thank you for joining us.
Aikens: No problem. Thank you for allowing me to do this.
So growing up, who was your favorite pro team?
Aikens: The Carolina Panthers.
Is there a player that you patterned your game after?
Aikens: Richard Sherman and Antonio Cromartie.
What about those players makes you want to play like them?
Aikens: Richard because of his style of play. The trash talking, but he is a good enough player to back it up. That’s the way I have always been. A lot of people think I do it to aggravate the opposing player, but it’s actually a part of my game. It gets me pumped up to dominate and he’s another big corner like myself. Cromartie because of his longevity. He has been playing for around 8-9 years and his ability to read offenses and pure athleticism.
Both of them are great players. What would you say is your biggest strength on the field?
Aikens: My aggressiveness, size and athleticism. My mindset of never backing down is part of my nature.
On the flip side of that, what would you say is your biggest weakness?
Aikens: Staying low in my breaks. The biggest weakness amongst bigger corners is staying low to get in and out of breaks with the smaller, quicker receivers. That’s something that I have improved tremendously over the years though.
Has there been a coach over the years who has really helped you become the player you are?
Aikens: My college defensive backs coach Marshal Roberts. He was a pain at times, but it was a blessing that he continuously stayed on me and helped guide me to become a dominant player.
Those are the kinds of coaches everyone needs. What would you say your biggest accomplishment is on the field?
Aikens: Being a dominating factor in any defense. Offenses know that nothing comes easy if they throw it my way so it’s safer to go away from me. Having that type of effect on an offense is an accomplishment for any defensive back.
What about off the field?
Aikens: The influence I have off the field for the younger generation. I’ve faced adversity and came from an “inner-city school” and made something of myself. I may not influence everyone’s life, but the fact that I reached some can lead to them impacting someone else’s life!
That’s great stuff man. Helping kids out is awesome. Is there someone growing up that kept you on the right path and kept you out of trouble?
Aikens: Well actually both of my parents were and still are great athletes. Those two along with the rest of my family supported me through thick and thin, guiding me in the right direction in any situation. My parents introduced me to sports and worked with me constantly to not only be a great athlete but a better person.
That’s great man. I’ll finish this up with one last question. What do you want to do once your playing days are done?
Aikens: I want to go into physical therapy so I can be around sports. I’ve been involved with sports my whole life and I can’t just give that up when I finish playing.
Understandable. Being around sports, plus helping people. Once again I want to thank you for taking the time to do this. Good luck this offseason and in your future endeavors.
Aikens: Thank you again man and I really appreciate that.