Draft Diamonds Prospect Interview: Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty
Walt Aikens is probably the most athletic corner back in the entire 2014 NFL Draft. The former NCAA standout point guard from Illinois University can jump out the gym. He has won dunk contests, and tore it up on the football field. The three sport icon left Illinois for Liberty and he has been a standout. Walt Aikens has recently received an invite to the Senior Bowl.
How many teams were recruiting you out of high school?
Where did you choose and why?
Illinois, I fell in love with the program and head coach Ron Zook was like my dad away from home.
What are your goals for your senior year?
My goals were to be an All-Conference All-American shutdown corner!
Have any scouts met with you, and if so what are they saying?
Yes, they love my size and speed and ability to move being a bigger corner.
At your position, what separates you from the others?
I’m very physical, and I make my presence known on the field.
Tell us what you look for when breaking down film?
Well when I look at my opponent I look for tendencies. How often that team runs certain plays, how their receivers run their routs, inconsistencies, the little things that most players don’t pick up on. When I self scout I look at my footwork and visualize where my eyes were during a particular time during a play and try to find flaws in my game or what I need to work on.
Who was the toughest player you have ever faced?
It was actually a teammate of mine Arrelious Benn (Philadelphia eagles Wr) he was a big strong player that ran great routes and caught everything coming his way. Being able to guard him in practice made me a better cover guy.
If you could compare your play to one person in the NFL who would it be?
I can’t just say one player because there are three. I feel I have the confidence and size of Richard Sherman, the durability, athleticism, and play-making ability of Antonio Cromartie and the swag of Deion Sanders. I take bits and pieces of all three of these great players and utilize them within my style of play.
What was the biggest obstacle in your life you had to overcome, and how did you overcome it?
Transferring schools. I feel I overcame this obstacle by making the most of my situation. We live and we learn. I’ve learned that the devil can’t hold you down when God is on your side. I had no time to sulk and feel sorry for myself, I had to man up, take responsibility and become the man/player I am today. It has only made me stronger on my journey.
What system fits your style of play the best?
I prefer press man, but I’m comfortable in off man and zone. Versatile
What is your biggest strength?
My athleticism, physicality, and knowledge of the game.
What is your biggest weakness?
The biggest weakness for big corners like myself is keeping a low center of gravity to get in and out of breaks effectively.
If I were a GM and gave you a second to sell yourself, what would you say?
I’m a hard nose go getter and I’m willing to go the extra mile to win. I don’t take no for an answer and I don’t settle. I’m a warrior and I try to prove it every time I step on the field. I will never back down.
Growing up, who was your role model?
My parents and supporting family.
Who was your favorite team and player in the NFL and why?
My favorite team was the Panthers because I’m from Charlotte NC and being a panther fan is a way of life here. I grew up being a fan. Fav player was donte hall because it was exciting to watch him play. He always did something to electrify the crowd!
What was the most tragic event that ever happened in your life and how did you overcome it?
Losing- I overcame it by always giving everything I have and letting my passion and killer instincts for the game show in everything I do.
If you were to have dinner with three people dead or alive who would it be?
My mom, dad, and grandmother…. They have always been there for me and my whole family has enough jokes to keep this particular dinner very interesting! Lol
With your first paycheck what would you buy?
To be honest I will probably just put it in the bank until I really need something, I don’t have the urge to buy anything fancy at the moment!