The Kentucky Wildcats pulled a stunner, in the minds of many, by beating the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday. No, it wasn’t a basketball game. It was football. And it wasn’t actually a football GAME, but a competition for a big-time football recruit.
John Hardin High School’s stud defensive lineman, Matt Elam, announced on Thursday that he had picked the Wildcats over the Crimson Tide. Elam, a four-star or five-star recruit, depending on who you ask, kept his decision close to the vest before making his public declaration from his high school library Thursday.
This is a recruiting coup for Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and his staff. Elam, a 6-5, 370-pounder, seemed to be the one missing recruit from a class that is now rated in the Top 20 nationally by nearly every recruiting service.
Elam should be able to step in and play immediately, and that may have been what drew him to Kentucky. With the departures of Mister Cobble and Donte Rumph, Kentucky has positions open on the interior defensive line, which is exactly where Elam will be playing.
Many will say that Elam simply chose to stay close to home, rather than go to school two states away. After all, John Hardin High School is in Elizabethtown, Ky., a little more than an hour from Lexington. Alabama fans are saying that Elam simply wanted to be close to home, not that he would really choose Kentucky over Alabama.
Either way, Elam will sign his national letter-of-intent on National Signing Day next week, and he will become a part of the greatest recruiting class in the history of Kentucky football. It will be up to this class, the first full class under Stoops, to turn the program around. If that happens, Elam literally and figuratively will be a big part of it.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.