July 26, 2011

UA makes move for Elston

HOOVER | Back in May, Oxford athlete Trae Elston wasn't even really considering the University of Alabama, but that all changed when the in-state star made a trip to Tuscaloosa and met with Nick Saban.

Elston had been to Alabama's campus before, but on this trip, Saban told the 6-foot, 183-pound athlete that the Crimson Tide coaching staff wanted him as a wide receiver.

"I like Alabama a lot," Elston said. "A lot of people thought I didn't like them, but I always had them in the hunt. I just never kept them on my recruiting list because they were looking at me as a defensive back, and I thought they weren't looking at me as a receiver.

"They saw my junior highlight and said they are recruiting me as a receiver now, so I put them in the mix."

Since that visit, Alabama has slowly been moving up on Elston's list that also includes Clemson, LSU, Miami, Oregon and Auburn.

"Clemson is my number one, but Alabama's coming up there."

Last week, Elston attended the Crimson Tide's camp where he worked out at wide receiver in front of the UA coaching staff for the first time. He also received a little advice from a former NFL star at the camp.

"I liked it a lot," Elston said. "They said I did pretty good. I had Chris Carter out there helping me out a little bit here and there, so that was a good point of view to help me with my route running and all of that.

"(Carter) just told me to keep my doing my thing. He said I'm little, but that I'll get big when I go to Alabama."

After working out with the rest of the participants, Elston was pulled aside by the Alabama coaches to do some individual drills.

"After I got done working out, I did some individual stuff with them," Elston said. "They said that I catch the ball pretty good and that I'm good at route running for a first-timer. I'm just trying to get better at it."

The Rivals 250 star has the talent and versatility to play cornerback, safety or wide receiver at the next level. He plays both ways for Oxford High School where, as a junior, he finished with 104 tackles and three interceptions and also had over 500 yards receiving with six touchdowns.

"To me, I think his future is at a lock-down corner position," Oxford head coach John Grass said. "He's a great receiver. He goes up and gets the ball well. I'm not sure he's not as good a receiver as he is a corner or safety, but in my opinion, I think lock-down corner is a natural place for him to be successful in the future."

Elston's future may be as a cornerback, but for now, he's set on playing wide receiver at the next level, and that's what the majority of his top schools are recruiting him as.

"I've been playing receiver since I was little," he said. "I just like it better, as a scorer, as an offensive scorer."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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