In the Clear?

Trae Elston

Oxford, Ala., defensive back Trae Elston finally has an arrival date in mind.


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Elston signed with Ole Miss in February as a member of the class of 2012. All seemed well. But Elston, a three-star prospect who chose Ole Miss over LSU and Oklahoma State, wasn't among those signees to enroll in classes earlier this month.

His ACT score was in question. Elston said Friday the issue has been resolved. He plans to enroll at Ole Miss for the second summer term in July.

"The ACT, they were questioning my scores and everything," he said. "They aren't questioning it anymore. I'm finally, like, cleared and all that."

The 6-foot, 170-pound Elston has kept to a rigorous workout regimen this summer. His days have been filled with 5 a.m. wake-up calls. He's followed a workout program sent to him by Ole Miss, which includes a two-mile run each morning.

Not that he wouldn't love to sleep in every now and then. But his family "keeps me going and everything." He has to push forward. Ole Miss needs Elston to come in and contribute.

"I just tell myself I want to be the best," he said. "I want to be at the best of my ability. I want to make Ole Miss a better team by playing my role and just us getting back to beating teams that we haven't beaten. A new era."

Elston is learning all five positions in the secondary. Ole Miss will run a base 4-2-5 scheme, which new head coach Hugh Freeze and staff began implementing during spring practices in April.


Trae Elston
Scout.com

Elston is focusing mostly on safety. But he can play cornerback, too, and even some "husky," a hybrid linebacker/safety position. Wherever he's needed.

"I'm just trying to get the coaches to get the best out of me," the Under Armour All-American said, when asked of his goals for his freshman season.

"My dream is to make it to the (NFL). If it's me not starting for two years, that's what I'll do."

He isn't lacking in confidence. Elston believes in his ability.

Soon, though, he'll be the low man on the totem pole, starting anew. No longer the big man on campus, but a wide-eyed freshman trying to find his footing.

"You'll still have that mindset that you're better than everybody," he said. "You got to have confidence. But you have to stay humble, too, and know your role. Know what you got to do to make the team better."

Ole Miss finished 2-10 last season, its worst record since 1946, and winless in Southeastern Conference games. The Rebels have lost 14 consecutive league games dating back to the 2010 season.

Enter Freeze, who replaced Houston Nutt as head coach in December. The rebuilding process could take some time. Then again, maybe it'll be faster than expected. No one knows, really.

An obvious change already, Elston said, is the collective mindset of the team.

"You can watch some games from last year. You can tell we're out to prove something this year," Elston said. "Now, we're a better team. We're taking it more serious, more leadership from the seniors and everything.

"Freeze, he's just a good man. I feel like he has a good offense he's bringing in that's going to score a lot of points. Offense, I'm not really worried about. Defense, I know we're going to be learning new schemes and all that. The offense he's bringing in, we're going to score points. Our defense just has to stop them from getting points on the board. We'll be successful."

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