Junior D-Lineman Eager To Check Out Illini

The defensive line at South Carolina's Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School is one with quite a tradition. Keeping up with that tradition, a junior defensive tackle is beginning to make noise and has already earned some offers including Illinois.

Martin Aiken is a 6'3", 240 pound defensive end/defensive tackle who is another force in a storied Bamberg-Ehrhardt defensive line. Alumni from Bamberg include current Philadelphia Eagle Ricky Sapp and Clemson's DaQuan Bowers. Other notable players include Illinois commit Zeph Grimes and prospect Demetrius Williams.

Like his predecessors, Aiken plays a physical brand of football, one of the reasons he has had success so far.

"I'm physical, that's just how I play. I play hard and that's just how it is. I get my hands on people and do my job, come off blocks and make plays. I'm aggressive at my position. I'm strong and I'm quick, and it makes it hard to block me."

At 240 pounds, it is easy to assume that Aiken is nothing but size, but because of his skills and non-stop motor, he is able to make plays.

"People are surprised that I can come out on top with that. I still need to really focus on making sure I shed blocks and come off the ball well."

As a junior, improvement is the key to preparing for the future, and Aiken has a great amount of respect for his coaches and the development they are able to accomplish.

"I do whatever coach (Kevin) Crosby asks, I don't ask questions, and whatever I do I work hard and give my all to get better."

Aiken is well on his way to the next level, and because of his abilities he has attracted significant early attention from various BCS schools such as Georgia Tech, Clemson, Illinois, and South Carolina.

"They all put out good athletes and they have pretty good educations too."

Education is something that is a priority to Aiken.

"I want the type of coach that's going to say education first, a coach that will push me to do my best in class as well as on the field."

Coach Ron West and Coach Vic Koenning are two of the coaches that fit that mold, which is no wonder why Aiken has strong interest in the Illini.

"I like Illinois. Everything I've heard about it so far is good. Zeph and Demetrius talked about Illinois every day for 2 weeks after they came back (from Junior Day)."

As for getting to Illinois for a visit, Aiken has plans to see the Illini as well as a few other places that are recruiting him.

"Right now I want to take them to all of the places I have offers from and then check out some places where I don't have offers from. Georgia Tech and Illinois because of offers. Then either Clemson or South Carolina too."

Recruiting is in his mind but isn't his priority. With his season fast approaching, Aiken has goals for both himself and his team.

"I want to get out and be the best. I'd like to get all-conference or all-state."

"We have a good season every year. I hope we can win state, we work hard at it every year."

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