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Plant receiver Aikens commits to Western Kentucky

Posted Jan 31, 2012 by Bill Ward

Updated Jan 31, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Plant senior wide receiver Austin Aikens, a first team all-Hillsborough County selection by the Tampa Tribune last season, has made a verbal commitment to Western Kentucky University, his father, Teryl Aikens told the Tribune on Tuesday.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Aikens hauled in 37 passes for 704 yards and 11 touchdowns last season as the Class 8A state champion Panthers’ top receiver. Teryl Aikens said the major attraction of Western Kentucky is the fact that coach Willie Taggart was pursuing Aikens as the Hilltoppers’ top recruit.

Teryl is also hoping that his younger son, Aaron, a junior receiver at Plant, could one day join his older brother in college.

Austin was also considering offers from Iowa, Bowling Green, Florida Internatoinal, Florida Atlantic and Toledo. He also had interest from several other Division I schools, including UCLA and Connecticut. But after their visit to Western Kentucky last weekend and meeting with Taggart—as well as WKU president Gary A. Ransdell—the Aikens were sold.

“They rolled out the red carpet,” Teryl Aikens said. “They let Austin know right away that he wasn’t their No. 1 recruit at wide receiver, but that he was their No. 1 recruit period.

“It was just a great experience and we got a good feeling about the people there and the school. They have his interests not only in football, but also his academics.”

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