Trae Elston has been a Clemson fan for about as long as he can remember.
"I've liked them ever since I was a kid," Elston said.
On Monday night, Elston, a coveted free safety from Oxford (Ala.), told Rivals.com that the Tigers, who paid him a visit Monday, currently hold down the top spot in the race for his services.
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"I have three schools I'm liking right now," Elston said. "Clemson is No. 1, then Auburn and LSU are next."
What does the 6-foot, 183-pound Elston like about Clemson?
"I went to the campus and to a camp, and they showed me love and everything," Elston said. "It's close to home. I'm originally from Augusta (Ga.), so it's close to there, too. "
According to Elston, he has developed a good relationship with Charlie Harbison, Clemson's co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach.
"He's a funny guy," Elston said. "I give him a few phone calls a week and we have little conversations. He tells me about how their players are doing."
Elston also has positive things to say about Auburn and LSU.
"Auburn is close to home," Elston said. "All my family in Alabama likes Auburn. I went to a lot of their games. With LSU, I like [defensive backs coach] Ron Cooper. He's a good DB coach. I think he could get me to where I want to go."
Thus far, Elston has more than two dozen FBS offers. Southern Miss became the latest to pull the trigger Monday. Last week, Alabama, Auburn and LSU stopped by his school.
Elston said he is in no hurry to pick a college, and probably won't do so until "after football season." His plan is to check out a few schools this summer, then make all five official visits in the fall and winter.
One of those officials has already been determined.
"Oregon is going to be one of them," Elston said. "Everybody tells me that Oregon is a good place to go to. I just want to go out West and see what it's like."