Alabama and Kentucky don’t often compete for recruits, but that’s the case for five-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky. John Hardin) after the 6-foot-6, 370-pound defensive tackle eliminated Notre Dame from contention before his Jan. 4 announcement.
— Matt Elam™6⃣9⃣ (@FballIsLife69) December 19, 2013
Elam has been one of the biggest risers in 247Sports rankings this season as the massive tackle moved from the 200s into the top 10, where he ranks as the No. 2 tackle and No. 1 prospect in the state. Scouts remain split on the massive Elam, but his combination of size, strength and explosiveness are the ideal traits for a nose guard in tackle.
Kentucky has been on Elam the longest and the hardest as they have made him the No. 1 target on their board. They have had fellow Kentucky product and commit Drew Barker in his ear in hopes of making them the lynchpins to Mark Stoops’ signature class. Elam has reciprocated by making frequent trips to Lexington and including his official visit he made last weekend and summer camps, he has visited Kentucky six times since June to give hope to Big Blue Nation.
One of those unofficial visits was for the Alabama game when the Crimson Tide knocked off the Wildcats 48-7, but don’t immediately write Kentucky off because they are the massive underdogs on the football field. “UK is in my home state that I want to make proud and is close to my heart,” Elam told Charles Power.
At Alabama, Elam would be the ideal fit in their 3-4 defense where he certainly would be compared to Terrence Cody, who was another mountain of a man in the middle of the Tide defense. “As for Bama, it’s an opportunity that not a lot of people can pass up. Nick Saban stayed and kept his word.”
Elam is scheduled to announce his decision at the U.S. Army All-American game on Jan. 4 and won’t be able to take an official visit to Alabama as a result, while the memories of his official visit is fresh in his mind.
On his official visit to Kentucky: Elam tells Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal, “There were definitely a lot of times I was just contemplating on saying I could be a part of this, and I could get in early. It would be fun to play as a true freshman, and I feel like I can help my program, my in-state program.”
Alabama vs. Kentucky on the football field is a no-brainer, but on the recruiting trail in regard to Elam, this is the best shot Kentucky has at knocking off Saban and Alabama any time soon. “I feel like there is going to be change at UK, and sometimes I just want to be a part of that.”
To answer Elam’s question in his tweet, I’d love to see the in-state program pull off the upset and keep the big man home. But as Elam said, it’s hard to pass on the opportunity to play or Alabama.
Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.