Big South: Two Big South Football Players Preparing For Jan. 25 Senior Bowl
01-23-2014 09:10 AM
For the first time in Big South history, two football student-athletes will play in the annual Senior Bowl, as Coastal Carolina All-American running back Lorenzo Taliaferro and Liberty defensive back Walt Aikens accepted invitations to play in the 65th Annual Reese's Senior Bowl. One of the nation's most prestigious collegiate all-star games, the Senior Bowl will be played Jan. 25 (Saturday) at 4 pm (ET)/3 pm (CT) in Mobile, Ala., at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and telecast on the NFL Network.
Aikens and Taliaferro are members of the South team coached by Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley.
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It is the second time that a Flame and Chanticleer will play in the game since the Big South began sponsoring football in 2002. Taliaferro and Aikens join Liberty's Rashad Jennings in 2009 -- former seventh-round NFL draft pick and current Oakland Raider, and Coastal Carolina's Josh Norman in 2012 -- former fifth-round NFL draft pick and current Carolina Panther.
Taliaferro was a Walter Payton Award Finalist, a second team FCS All-America (Associated Press and The Sports Network) and the 2013 Big South Offensive Player of the Year - earning the league's Offensive Player of the Week honors a record-tying five times. His play helped Coastal Carolina post a 12-3 record, win a second-straight Big South Championship, reach the NCAA Division I Championship quarterfinal and finish seventh in the final FCS polls.
In addition, Taliaferro set numerous Big South and Coastal Carolina single-season rushing records while ranking among FCS top offensive players and helping the Chanticleer offense set numerous records and rank among the nation's best in 2013.
Aikens appeared in the inaugural Medal of Honor Bowl on Jan. 18 as a member of the American Roster, which was 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.
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 Jennings. Each of the previous three players went on to have NFL careers.
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.