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Aikens Preparing for Pair of Bowl Games
With his Liberty playing days behind him, Walt Aikens is preparing for a potential professional playing career after receiving invitations to play in two scout bowl games in January.
Aikens will have the chance to showcase his abilities in front of professional scouts at this Saturday's inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl and later this month at the Senior Bowl.
The Medal of Honor Bowl will be played at Johnson Hagood Stadium on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
Aikens is a member of the American Roster, which will be under the direction of former Maryland Head Coach Ralph Friedgen. While at Maryland, Friedgen was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and led the Terripans to the ACC title in 2001.
The Medal of Honor Bowl National team is coached by Chan Gailey, who has head coaching experience at both the NFL (Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys) and college (Georgia Tech, Samford and Troy State) levels.
Later this month, Aikens will take part in the famed Senior Bowl, which will be played at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 25 (4 p.m. EST). The practice sessions and the contest will be broadcast on the NFL Network.
The Senior Bowl, started in 1950, has had some of the NFL's best players included on its rosters. Over 500 former Senior Bowl participants are currently on NFL rosters.
Coaching staffs from the Atlanta Falcons (Mike Smith, head coach) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (Gus Bradley, head coach) will coach the two teams.
Aikens is the fourth Flame in program history to receive an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl, joining Wayne Haddix (1987), Eric Green (1990) and Rashad Jennings (2009).
Each of the previous three players went on to have NFL careers. Haddix played four seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987-91).
Green's 10 seasons in the league with the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1990-99) were spotlighted by a pair of Pro Bowl selections (1993 and 1994).
Jennings recently completed his fifth season in the NFL (2009-13) and his first with the Oakland Raiders. Jennings was named Raiders.com Co-Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for a career-best 733 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.
Aikens is a three-time Big South all-conference honoree, taking first-team honors in 2013 and second-team accolades in 2011 and 2012.
Aikens tied for the team lead in 2013 with 62 tackles. He led the Flames and ranked third in the Big South with 50 solo tackles. He helped Liberty rank No. 5 in the country in interceptions (19), individually recording three interceptions to give him seven for his career.