When Willie Taggart left Western Kentucky for USF after the 2012 season, all of his former Hilltoppers stayed behind except this one.
#88 WR Austin Aikens
5th Year Senior, 6'0", 184 lbs.
2015 Stats: Aikens appeared in three games but did not record any statistics.
Position On Depth Chart: Austin is not listed on the post-spring depth chart.
How He Came To USF: Aikens started out at Tampa's Plant High School, where he caught 85 passes for over 1600 yards and 20 touchdowns for the Panthers, and won the first Class 8A state title in 2011. He had a lot of interest from bigger programs (USF didn't offer him even though Skip Holtz's son was on the damn team), but he joined Taggart's 2012 recruiting class at Western Kentucky and caught eight passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman. After Taggart came to USF, Aikens apparently didn't get on well with Bobby Petrino's staff and decided to transfer back home and become a walk-on Bull. He sat out the 2013 season, redshirted in 2014, and played sparingly last year.
Recruiting Rankings: 247, Rivals, and ESPN all rated Aikens as a three-star recruit.
Projected Playing Time: The good news for Austin is he got to go to college in his hometown and he was able to play football for a coach he clearly trusts. The bad news is he probably won't get to play very much of it. Based on the depth chart, there are eight receivers ahead of Aikens in line, and he's not listed as a kick returner either. Odds are Aikens will only see some spot duty this year.
I do wonder if Aikens would have been a bigger threat in USF's old style of offense, before they opened it up last year. Or maybe he simply was lost in the shuffle as USF was able to recruit at a level even higher than his own. Who knows.
Follow Him On... Instagram at doubleabeast88. He also has his Snapchat handle listed there, DoubleABeast85 (his old WKU number).