Aiken sees USC again

Bamberg-Ehrhardt (Bamberg, S.C.) four-star DE Martin Aiken has visited his final three schools many times. But the nation's No. 12 defensive end prospect according to wanted one more final look at Clemson, South Carolina and Georgia Tech before making a decision. Wednesday Aiken visited Columbia for another tour of USC.

Martin Aiken took a three-hour visit to Columbia today in what will likely be his last stop at South Carolina before he announces his decision June 26. Aiken didn't work out at the camps that were going on, but instead spent his time with various Carolina coaches.

"At the beginning I got there and met up with coach (Jay) Graham," Aiken said. "He took me on a little quick tour. We went to the academic center, I think they call it the Dodie.

"Then we went over there and he showed me where the dorms were, where most of the players stay. I saw [former Bamberg-Ehrhardt standout] A.J. (Cann) and I talked to A.J. for a minute.

"Then we went over to talk to coach (Steve) Spurrier, coach (Brad) Lawing and coach (Craig Fitzgerald). Then we watched some team highlights and got out of there."

Aiken says he spent 30-to-40 minutes talking with Spurrier.

"Coach Spurrier was saying that if I came there the biggest thing for me to do was graduate," Aiken said. "He told me there are some guys that came there that haven't played since they've been there but he got them there and he wants them to stay there and graduate.

"He just let me know that if I come there my biggest goal is to graduate even though you still have to have that goal in mind that you want to play in the NFL and be special on that football field."

Defensive line coach Lawing and strength coach Fitzgerald had similar messages for the four-star prospect.

"Coach Lawing and Coach Fitz were telling me that they could prepare me for the next level as well as prepare me to compete on the hardest level at the same time," Aiken said.

Aiken spent much of the visit with his recruiter of record, Graham, who took over for Shane Beamer when the Gamecocks' former recruiting coordinator left to coach with his father at Virginia Tech.

"Coach Graham, he's the recruiter for my area -- he's a great guy, I like him," Aiken said. "He's a real great guy; he's straight-up with everything. He's done a good job recruiting me and he was kind of in charge of making sure I spoke with everybody today, and I think he did a real good job of making sure all our questions were answered as well."

Aiken also recently visited one of his other three finalists, Clemson.

"I was up there like a week ago at their camp," Aiken said. "I worked out for like one session and then kind of walked around the rest and watched everybody, watched out the coaches and how they acted on the field."

He plans to take a visit to Georgia Tech Friday. Aiken has visited there many times as well and said he likes the combination of the football program and the great degree he could get at Georgia Tech.

"After I come back from Georgia Tech, I'm just going to try to evaluate," Aiken said. "I'm just going to try to sit down and look at them and really try to look over all three schools before I make a decision. I want to see which one of the is the best decision for me."

If Aiken already has his mind made up, he's doing a good job of not tipping his hand.

"Right now everybody is even. My top three would be like South Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech -- those three schools, and all of them are even right now. There's no leader right now."

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