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BAMBERG, S.C. -- Clemson football recruiting remained red hot Sunday after Martin Aiken, one of the top defensive football recruits in the country, ended his recruiting by publicly declaring for the Tigers during a late-afternoon news conference at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School.
Aiken becomes the ninth verbal commit for Clemson's coaching staff since May 23, and the 12th overall in the Tigers' 2012 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder, who had been a projection to Clemson by Tigerillustrated.com, is billed by Rivals.com as the 15th-best strong-side end recruit in the nation. Aiken, a Rivals250 member, is ranked 189th nationally overall regardless of position.
The Red Raider defensive lineman was last in Clemson earlier this month where he participated in the first session of the Dabo Swinney Football Camp. Shortly after his departure he set a date of June 26 to announce his college decision.
Aiken was recruited to Clemson by defensive line coach Marion Hobby, who took over the prospect's recruitment following the departure of Chris Rumph in January. Aiken selected the Tigers over his finalists - South Caroilna and Georgia Tech. The highly recruited lineman received over two-dozen scholarship offers, including full rides from Oklahoma, USC, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Michigan, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and North Carolina.
Aiken left Clemson's campus earlier this month calling the Tigers his favorite. While on campus he spent time with close friend, Ronald Geohaghan of Allendale, who committed to the Tigers the following day and subsequently predicted Aiken would soon follow.
Said Aiken following his last visit to Clemson: "I like it there. I've just always liked Clemson."
The four-star prospect grew up following the Tigers' football program. His last unofficial visit to Clemson was the third consecutive year he's camped with the Tigers.
Aiken is the latest in a line of national commits for the Tigers out of the Red Raiders program, following blue-chip linebacker Chris Franklin, who signed with then Clemson head football coach Ken Hatfield in 1993, and five-star defensive ends Ricky Sapp (2006) and Da'Quan Bowers in 2008.
Aiken is now the fifth four-star prospect to commit to Clemson in the 2011-2012 cycle. He's also the sixth player from the Palmetto State to cast his lot with the Tigers.
Clemson's coaching staff is expected to take 18-20+ commits in the 2012 class.
Tigerillustrated.com will have more from Aiken's news conference later this afternoon - evening.
Clemson's 2012 verbal commits
1. Jay Guillermo (OL 6-3, 287) Maryville, Tenn.
2. Shaq Lawson (DL 6-3, 240) Central - D.W. Daniel
3. Germone Hopper (ATH 6-0, 165) Charlotte (NC) Phillip O'Berry Academy of Technology
4. Patrick Destefano (OL 6-4, 275) Roebuck - Dorman
5. Cordrea Tankersley (DB 6-0, 190) Aiken - Silver Bluff
6. Ronald Geohaghan (DB 6-0, 190) Fairfax - Allendale-Fairfax
7. Travis Blanks (DB 6-1, 195) Tallahassee, Fla. - North Florida Christian
8. Bradley Pinion (P 6-6, 220) Concord (NC) Northwest Cabarrus
9. Chad Kelly (QB 6-3, 208) Buffalo (NY) St. Joseph's
10. T.J. Burrell (LB 5-11, 197) Goose Creek
11. Zac Brooks (ATH 6-2, 180) Jonesboro, Ark.
12. Martin Aiken (DL 6-3, 250) Bamberg
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