New Player for Aiken's Services

Chris Aiken from Blinn Junior College in Texas has received a lot of early attention from BYU. Now, another school is showing a lot of early interest for the Iraq War veteran and exciting defensive tackle prospect. TBS caught up with Aiken to learn of that other school and where Aiken stands in the recruiting process.

Chris Aiken is a 6-foot-2-inch, 290-pound defensive tackle recruit from powerhouse Blinn Junior College in Texas. Aiken joined the military right out of high school and did two tours in the Iraq War before joining the Blinn football team.

After joining the Army right out of high school, Aiken has not been able to play football full-time for a while. However, he is slated to start for Blinn this coming year due to some impressive practice outings, among other factors. Now that he's regaining his form, Aiken has already received some attention from a couple of Division I programs.

BYU was the first to show interest in Aiken, and now Pittsburgh has been very active in recruiting the promising defensive tackle prospect.

"Pittsburgh has been calling and have shown me a lot of interest here lately," said Aiken. "I like Pittsburgh because I have some family up there and it would be great to get closer to them while playing for a good program like Pittsburgh."

A lot of Aiken's father's family lives up in the Pittsburgh area, and after being raised primarily by his mother, Aiken would like the opportunity to get closer to his father's side of the family.

Aiken is due to graduate this December, which will make him available for a midyear transfer. That is obviously a huge advantage to recruits wanting to play during their first year of Division I football. Aiken has time for little else other than working out and hitting the books these days, as his goal to play Division I football is well in sight.

"That's all I do," explained Aiken. "I study, go to class, work out, study some more, sleep and that's it. That's my life right now. I'm set to graduate this December and I don't want to take any time off, you know?"

Aiken has been focusing mainly on his speed and burst off the line. When TBS first spoke with Aiken in April he weighed in at 305. Aiken now weighs in at 290, as he's working hard to get into his best game-shape.

"My strength is fine, it's right where it needs to be," stated Aiken. "Coaches have told me that I'm as strong as most NFL linemen right now. I just have to get a little quicker off the line, so that's what I'm working on most. Once I get that where it needs to be, I'll dominate."

While Pittsburgh has caught his early interest, Aiken is still very intrigued with the option of playing for BYU, particularly since BYU was first in line to inquire about him and show him interest.

"That's real big in my mind," said Aiken. "I talked it over with my mom and she believes that too. BYU is the school I will always strongly consider first since they were first to show me interest. They've shown a lot of early interest, in fact, and that's very important to me."

A lot of lower Division II have shown early interest as well, but for Aiken his sights are set squarely on Division I football where he can play on TV against some top competition.

In recent conversations with BYU coaches, they've mentioned that they'd like Aiken to transfer to the school this August and help out at the now tenuous nose tackle position during the 2009 season. While that option is intriguing to Aiken, he's discussed it with counselors and it doesn't appear like it will be an option for him.

"I didn't take the ACT or SAT out of high school so I have to graduate, is what was explained to me," related Aiken. "I mean, I'd love to transfer right now, but that isn't an option for me. All I'm going to do is make sure I graduate in December because that is the only way I'll be able to transfer to a Division I school."

Aiken still doesn't have an offer from either BYU or Pittsburgh, although Cougar coaches have indicated to that they just need to see film on him before offering. The drill at BYU in regards to offering any prospect is that all coaches have to meet and view film together and then vote unanimously that the recruit is worthy of a BYU offer.

As soon as the Cougar coaches are able to do that, Aiken is confident that an offer will be forthcoming.

"I'm a diamond in the rough and BYU believes that, they see that in me," said Aiken. "Right now that rough is junior college, and as soon as I get done with junior college it will be my time to shine."

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