February 22, 2011

Tide offers Carolina DL

Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School in Bamberg, SC is not your average Class A football program. Despite an enrollment of around 500 students, the school has become a routine stop for many college coaches after producing two former five-star defensive linemen in Ricky Sapp and Da'Quan Bowers as well as a former four-star center, A.J. Cann. Class of 2012 defensive end Martin Aiken is next in line for the Red Raiders and is a recent recipient of a Crimson Tide offer, among others.

"I just got offered by Auburn and Alabama," said Aiken. "I also have offers from South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, and Tennessee. It's hard for me to keep track of them all. They all come in through my coach, Coach Crosby, so he keeps me updated. I don't have any top schools right now. I'm still open to everybody, but Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Clemson, and Auburn are recruiting me the hardest. Alabama just picked it up right here recently when they offered me."

Aiken is no stranger to recently hired Alabama defensive line coach Chris Rumph. Rumph was the position coach for both Sapp and Bowers during their careers at Clemson and was Aiken's primary recruiter for the Tigers.

"Coach Crosby called me in the office when he was on the phone with Coach Rumph," Aiken said. "We talked for a little bit. I know him from when he was at Clemson, so we had already built a pretty good relationship."

The 6'3 245-pounder is also working on establishing a connection with several other coaches.

"I'm building a good relationship with Coach (Mike) Sewak at Georgia Tech," Aiken said. "I was building a relationship with Coach (Shane) Beamer at South Carolina before he left for Virginia Tech, but I'm also cool with Coach (Brad) Lawing so Beamer leaving didn't hurt them. I also talk with Coach (Marion)Hobby from Clemson, Coach (Robert) Prunty from Texas Tech and Coach (Justin) Wilcox from Tennessee. I'm just trying to get to know all these coaches."

Aiken is currently ironing out plans to make a few visits this spring.

"I'm going to South Carolina's junior day," he said. "I'm also going to Clemson's junior day on March 5 and Auburn on March 26. I might try to fit Alabama in there, but I'm not too sure since they just offered."

The Palmetto State product is going to look at three primary factors when deciding upon a collegiate destination.

"I'm going to look at how I fit into the school from an academic standpoint," said Aiken. "I'll consider the surrounding environment of each school and determine if that's the kind of place and type of people I want to be around. I'm also going to look at the coaches and how they will treat me if I choose their school."

As for trying to live up to the aforementioned Bamberg-Ehrhardt stars, Aiken uses any kind of comparison as a motivation.

"I set a lot of goals and I try to push myself to be as good as those guys," he said. "I kept track of Da'Quan this year and tried to watch his games or at least see how many sacks he had each week. I use the success that Da'Quan, Ricky, and A.J. are having to push myself to become a better player."

As a junior, Aiken had 13 sacks and helped Bamberg-Ehrhardt to a state championship game appearance.

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