October 11, 2011

A big weekend in the fast Lane

Miami (Fla.) Northwestern's Elston Lane plans to be in Winston-Salem Saturday for an official visit, and to see Wake Forest (4-1, 3-0 ACC) host No. 17 Virginia Tech (5-1, 1-1 ACC).

"I'm just really trying to learn the atmosphere, and seeing if that's the type of place, the type of environment I could be able to be there away from home for months and weeks without coming home," Lane said. "That's the whole thing. Miami boys barely like to leave home. It's hard for us to leave home. I don't mind trying new things. That's my whole thing, just seeing if I can be comfortable there, see if I can make that my home."
Miami boys may not like leaving home, but Wake Forest has 30 players from the state of Florida.

"That makes it a lot easier with me explaining to my mom," Lane said. "She thinks I'm the only that wants to leave home. That's something big I could throw in. I'm not the only guy trying to leave home, so that's big."

Of those players is his friend Merrill Noel who is from Pahokee (Fla.).

"I talk to him a lot," Lane said. "I saw him catch a pick, so when I was up there he was talking to me a lot. He wants me to come up there. I hope so."

The three-star recruit also talks to Wake Forest wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway regularly. The two spoke Sunday, and Galloway wants him to enroll early. Lane said he was going to call him today, so Galloway and his high school guidance counselor could talk about that possibility.

"I got all of my credits for high school," Lane said. "I don't need to take any more high school classes. They're trying to see if I can come over there in the spring, if my counselor is going to allow me to come over, if the school is going to allow me to come over in the spring."

Early enrollment is something that he is talking about with the other schools recruiting him.

Along with the Demon Deacons the rest of Lane's top three are Florida International and Vanderbilt, and despite de-committing from SMU he is still considering the Mustangs. He plans to visit each school. His high school teammate Imarjaye Albury is trying to sway him in going to West Virginia together. Lane does not appear overly interested in the Mountaineers.

As alluded to earlier getting on his mother's good side would go a long way in his recruitment, and Galloway is in good standing.

"She talked to him [Galloway] a couple of times," Lane said. "She thinks he's a nice, he's a cool guy. I talk to him the majority of the time, and tell [her] what we talk about. He always tells me to tell her hi. She's okay with him."

Lane's mother may feel good about Galloway, but do not think a commitment is coming any time in the near future. Soon after choosing SMU he realized jumped the gun, and decided to see how the rest of the recruiting process develops.

"I'm not committed yet," Lane said. "He [Galloway] wants me to commit, but I'm kind of just holding off for signing day. My mom she wants me to kind of wait. She's just saying wait."

Lane said when he committed to the Mustangs he did not know much about how the recruiting process worked.

"I think it took a little detour in my recruiting," Lane said. "I think I could have had a lot more things than I have. I have 11 offers. A lot of schools stopped looking at me after I committed. I had to take a step back."

As his stats pick up, so will the interest levels of other schools. Last season Lane caught 22 passes for 447 yards and nine touchdowns. In just five games this year the Miami product has pulled in 17 balls for 243 yards and three touchdowns, which projects for a higher output than 2010. He has achieved this success, while playing through the pain of an injured ankle.

Lane said that Galloway is all about catching the football and working hard, but what he likes most about the Wake Forest assistant is that he has stayed the same person throughout the entire process.

For Vanderbilt it is how James Franklin has turned the Commodores (3-2, 1-2 SEC) in his first season after the program endured a 2-10 campaign a year ago, and the great education he would receive. Despite those being major factors for the Dores assistant coach Wesley McGriff has made the most significant impact for Vandy in its pursuit for a pledge from Lane.

"He already came down to see me," Lane said. "That showed me a lot. That was his first time going out, leaving Tennessee to come watch a player, so that showed me a lot."

What gives FIU an edge with Lane is proximity, which is especially comforting for his mother. Like the Commodores and Demon Deacons, Mario Cristobal's program also appears to be on the climb.

Lane has been to a couple of the Panthers games. He likes their style of offense, and that they are not afraid to play freshmen. That obviously is not to Wake Forest's favor, but every now and then Jim Grobe makes an exception (example: Tanner Price in 2010).

The Northwestern standout said Galloway expects him to step in for Givens once he leaves. This weekend will show Lane just how big the shoes he will have to fill are if he selects the Demon Deacons.

"I'll try to spend some time with Givens," Lane said. "He knows the most about the program, like what part of the program I'll be trying to go into. That's who I'll try to be around, see what he's talking about, see what I have to learn, and what I have to pick up on to come step in at Wake."



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