The pipeline from Bamberg to Clemson continues.
Four-star defensive end Martin Aiken publicly committed to Clemson Sunday afternoon, continuing a trend of the Tigers signing top ranked talent from the area.
Aiken made the announcement in a press conference at Bamberg-Erhardt High School.
Three years ago Clemson signed the nation's No. 2 overall player, five-star defensive end Da'Quan Bowers from Bamberg, before Bowers was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In 2006, five-star defensive end Ricky Sapp also signed with the Tigers.
Sapp also was eventually selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.
Now, it's Aiken's turn.
Currently ranked as the No. 12 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, the rising senior will arrive in Tigertown with high expectations next summer.
"Every time I've been up there, I feel like I'm at home," Aiken said Sunday afternoon. "It's a place that's real special to me every time I step out down there. That really kind of gave them the edge."
While it was a decision that Aiken realized a long time ago, he wanted to be absolutely sure that Clemson was indeed the school that he wanted to attend.
"I tried to look at every school I went to and compare them to Clemson. In some ways they did and in some ways they didn't," he said. "I didn't really 100 percent until probably the last time I went up there. That's when I knew for 100 percent that's where I wanted to play football."
On Friday, he spoke with Clemson defensive ends coach Marion Hobby, to let him know that Clemson was the winner.
On Friday, he spoke with Clemson defensive ends coach Marion Hobby, to let him know that Clemson was the winner. (Hale McGranahan)
"It's really hard to say who finished second between those two schools," Aiken said. "They pushed. I know they're probably still going to push after today. They're two great places. I really want to thank them for allowing me the opportunity."
Aiken said Bowers and Sapp gave him advice throughout the recruiting process, but that he made the decision on his own.
"I knew I had to make the decision for me, not for them," Aiken said. "It really gave me motivation to know that you had somebody before you that did so well."
Bamberg-Ehrhardt head coach Butch Crosby compared Aiken to the former BE/Clemson defensive ends.
"Ricky was a little faster. Da'Quan was a little bigger," Crosby said. "He's a lot meaner and stronger than those two guys [were]. He compares to them a lot in different ways.
"Those guys were good, but his mean streak is going to be one of those things that carry on with him playing defensive end."
And Aiken's motor just keeps on rolling.
"At some point he's got to slow up," Crosby said. "For us, to get some things down practice-wise, we've got to get him under control. It's just one of those things that his motor just keeps going and going. He's like the Energizer Bunny sometimes."
Aiken said he's ready to make his own name at the college level.
"I'm going to be one of the best, one day, because I'm going to keep working. I'm going to keep working to strive to get better every time I step out on the field," he said.
Never mind what he's able to achieve on the football field. Mom wanted the decision to meet her academic demands.
"I think he's a great football player, even though he's my son, but his academics are more important," said Amanda Brown. "I don't care how many schools it is. He has to get a degree and education first. Then, he can do what he does on the field. As long as he makes sure he handles those things, I'm fine with where he goes."