At Liberty University, Aikens spent time on the basketball and track and field squads, but it was his ability as a football player that led the Dolphins to select him in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Aikens also showed versatility on the football field, getting playing time at both cornerback and safety.
Not surprisingly, Aikens says he’s ready to play wherever for the Dolphins.
“I played nickel, I played safety, I played the corner on the island,” Aikens said on a conference call with South Florida reporters Saturday. “I can do it all. I’m a versatile player and I don’t have any problem with adjusting.”
Aikens earned All-Big South honors each of his three seasons at Liberty, including first-team accolades as a senior in 2013.
Aikens said he was looking to compete right away with the Dolphins.
“I want to come and learn the system and then get incorporated into the mix,” Aikens said. “I want to be a starter. That’s my goal. I want to come in and be a dominant factor. I want to be a dominating player. That’s what I’m competing for.”
Aikens was borderline dominating last fall when he tied for the team lead at Liberty with 62 tackles and also recorded three interceptions.
He was impressive enough to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he again impressed scouts.
The Dolphins selected Aikens with the 125th overall pick, which they obtained from the San Diego Chargers on Friday night. The Dolphins’ original fourth-round selection was traded Friday to the Oakland Raiders when they moved up to take offensive lineman Billy Turner with the third pick of the third round.
Aikens ended up at Liberty after beginning his collegiate career at the University of Illinois, where he started five games as a freshman in 2010.
An off-the-field incident led to Aikens transferring to Liberty, and Aikens addressed the issue during his conference call Saturday.
“I borrowed a laptop from a teammate and it turned out to be stolen,” Aikens said. “I got charged with possession of stolen property, which was a misdemeanor. And the school was really trying to set an example out of some football players at the time and they thought it was best if I left. Coach Ron Zook was my head coach at the time; he fought for me to stay, but the school wouldn’t let me stay, so he gave me the right of way to transfer to some other schools.
“(I) had a good season my freshman year and I knew if I dropped down a division I could go in and play right away, so that was my whole mind-set for choosing Liberty.”
Aikens clearly made the most of his time at Liberty University, and now he’s ready to start his professional career.
Aikens was thrilled when the Dolphins made him their first defensive selection in this year’s draft.
“I took a visit a couple of weeks ago and just fell in love with the coaches,” Aikens said. “They have a lot of common with my goals and I have a lot in common with their plans. They like big, physical corners and I’m there for that.”