Oxford’s Elston down to 3 final choices
by Nick Birdsong
nbirdsong@annistonstar.com
Jan 31, 2012 | 6186 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past weekend, Trae Elston, along with his family, sat in the home of Oklahoma State University head football coach Mike Gundy and discussed his future.

He also made a stop in Baton Rouge, La., visiting with coaches from SEC champion LSU, and prior to that he was in Oxford, Miss., to check out Ole Miss.

Wednesday morning, the Under Armour All-American and two-time first-team all-state selection will be in Oxford High School’s sports arena. There he’ll decide among the final three schools still in contention for his services in a national signing day ceremony which is set to be broadcasted live on ESPNU.

The 6-foot, 187-pounder is a rarity among the truly elite football players in the state.

He’s long held offers from in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn, winners of the past three BCS national championships but is determined to take his game and build his fame outside the state.

“A lot of people have talked to me about going out of state,” Elston said. “But I want to go somewhere else and do something different.”

Unlike his talented teammates, linebacker Kwon Alexander and offensive lineman Michael Flint, both Under Armour All-Americans, Elston said Monday night he’s still thinking things through.

Flint, who initially committed to Auburn as a junior, committed to Arkansas State where former Tigers’ offensive coordinator Gus Malzhan is now head coach.

Alexander, the top-rated uncommitted player in the state, is remaining true to his word that he won’t make any announcement until Wednesday.

Until he has to take to the microphone, Elston is seeking the advice of his family.

“The hardest part is going to a school and then regretting it,” he said.

“You don’t want to go a school you’re going to regret.”

Elston tallied 107 tackles to go along with six interceptions as a defensive back and racked up 756 receiving yards while scoring 10 touchdowns as a wideout as a senior this past fall.

Oklahoma State has talked to him about playing on both sides of the ball, he said. Elston and his blazing 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash would fit in just fine in Stillwater. There’ll likely be plenty of touches to go around in the Cowboys’ pass-happy offense which helped them finish third in the final BCS standings.

“They haven’t had anyone do that (play offense and defense) since R.W. McQuarters,” he said. “So, I could make history there.”

Should he take his talents to the Bayou state, Elston could be another lauded member of LSU’s secondary.

The school has come to be known as “DB U” in recent years. LSU has produced the likes of Patrick Peterson, the first defensive back taken in the 2011 NFL draft, and Morris Claiborne, who’ll likely be the first defensive back to go in this year’s draft. Not to mention he’d be afforded the opportunity to learn from Heisman trophy candidate Tyrann Mathieu for at least one more year.

“I feel good about them,” Elston said of LSU. “(Head coach) Les Miles is a funny guy that I could get along with and their DB coach, coach (Ron) Cooper puts DBs in the league. I could go there, get to the league real quick and make some money.”

At Ole Miss, he’d have the opportunity to play a role in resurrecting a program that’s striving to be among the elite teams in the SEC.

“It’s a good school,” he said. “They’re trying to change the program up. I could really help them.”

One thing he isn’t worried about is getting a quality education.

“They’re all great schools,” he said. “I’m going to get a good education wherever I go.”

Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.

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