But have you seen Aikens dunk on a 7-footer?
Aikens, a third-year special teams ace from Charlotte, North Carolina, loved basketball growing up. And he was even a member of the Liberty University football and men’s basketball teams at the same time.
“Man, I told you I played basketball,” Aikens was telling Miami cornerback Xavien Howard in the locker room on Wednesday.
“For real?” Howard said.
Take a look at some of these college and high school dunks Aikens made that are still preserved on Youtube:
When Aikens played at Illinois (before transferring to Liberty) he even participated in an on-campus dunk contest featured on the Big Ten Network:
Former Illinois and NBA star Kendall Gill presented Aikens with a trophy after he won the competition.
Aikens is flat-out one of the best athletes on the Miami Dolphins and the last two weeks it’s shown up on special teams.
What kind of a basketball player was Aikens?’
“I played one through five,” Aikens said. “If we went with a smaller lineup, I could bang with the big guys and jump with them. And then we went with a smaller lineup I played guard. In high school, the style of play was more run-and-gun. In college, it was more slow down half court run the offense. I played the 2, 3 anything. Didn’t really matter.”
The Dolphins have one of the NFL’s best special teams units because of players like Michael Thomas, Mike Hull, Lafayette Pitts and Aikens. Aikens credited Pitts, a cornerback nicknamed “Worm” for a solid pass rush which helped free him to make the block and score against the Jets on Saturday.
“Walt has really, in the last three years, made a marked improvement, I think, from his rookie season from a guy that was really just a raw talent to a guy that now really understands the ins and outs of special teams play,” Dolphins assistant head coach and special teams coach Darren Rizzi said Wednesday.
Asked about his NFL journey, Aikens said: “It’s a standard NFL journey. It has its ups and downs. I just hope to get better as a special teams player and as a safety every day.”
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