Editor's note: This
is the fifth in a series of 20 leading up to National Signing Day that
features Top 100 (or former Top 100) football recruits who have yet to announce their
college plans. We're breaking down their finalists and predicting where
each will wind up.
Uncommitted: Trae Elston
High school: Oxford (Ala.)
Size: 6-foot, 180 pounds
Tom Lemming's ranking: No. 122 overall (No. 5 S)
Finalists (alphabetical): Cal, LSU, Oklahoma State, UCF
More Uncommitted players: Devin Fuller, Aziz Shittu, Josh Garnett and D.J. Foster
One-loss Oklahoma State watched as another one-loss team won the BCS national championship earlier this month. Still, the possibility remains that the Cowboys may be able to one-up Alabama in their bid to get safety/wide receiver Trae Elston from the Crimson Tide's home state.
Not so fast, though. Elston has numerous offers from across the country stretching from as far west as the University of California and as far east as the University of Central Florida, both of which appear to be among his favorites. That stands to reason, too, since they've expressed interest in Elston as a wide receiver, as has Oklahoma State.
Elston initially drew attention as a safety, and that's where he played in the Under Armour All American game earlier this month. Also in the game were Oxford High teammates Kwon Alexander and Michael Flint. None of them have committed, although they are expected to make their choices at their school on the morning of National Signing Day, Feb. 1.
Until then, speculation will run rampant as to Elston's destination. His size at 6-foot, 180 pounds has led some to question whether Elston has the stature to withstand the rigors of the Southeastern Conference, where many of the schools are clamoring for his services. Yet, LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu stands only 5-9, and he was one of five players invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation last month.
Whoever lands Elston will get an all-around athlete with 4.41-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of 34.4 inches. MaxPreps recruiting expert Tom Lemming said Elston has "great range and hitting ability. He's a leader both on and off the field."
Just where that will lead Elston remains anyone's guess, but he's given indication that getting a chance to play wide receiver is important to him. After all, he did average 21.2 yards per catch on 12 receptions this past year. He also posted more than 100 tackles with seven interceptions as a defensive back.
Elston told the Orlando Sentinel earlier this month it helps Oklahoma State "a lot" to be recruiting him as a wide receiver.
The same goes for UCF. "They say I can play receiver and play right away as a freshman," he said of the Knights.LSU (long shot):
There are those who are hoping Elston will replace Louisiana defensive back Landon Collins, who spurned the Tigers in lieu of joining ex-teammate Eddie Lacy at Alabama. Lacy, a running back, was among those who helped the Crimson Tide beat LSU for the national title. The union isn't likely.California (possibility):
The fact that Elston could fit into the Bears' attack as a wide receiver is attractive to him. Less attractive is the distance from home, although Elston said he would like to leave the state. Cal may receive an official visit from Elston on Jan. 25UCF (in the hunt):
With the Knights trying to make headway among the giants of the game, they have to be innovative in attracting someone of Elston's stature. If that means playing him as a freshman wide receiver, so be it. Elston is scheduled to visit Jan. 27, but it might not make a difference.Oklahoma State (likeliest destination):
Elston was scheduled to be in town Jan. 20, and there was a good chance he liked what he saw and heard. The Cowboys are a team on the upswing and an all-around athlete such as Elston would fit well into their system.
So until you hear it from Elston himself, whenever that will be, consider the Cowboys his leading choice.