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Matt Elam says it’s a “three-horse race” between Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisville


Want to know just how different things are in Kentucky football recruiting these days? A top prospect is deciding between Alabama, Louisville…and Kentucky. Elizabethtown giant Matt Elam is the 24th best defensive tackle in the nation, and says that right now, all three schools are neck-to-neck:

“I will say of the offers I have right now, it’s a three-horse race between Alabama, Kentucky and Louisville,” Elam told LEX18. “Kentucky and Louisville are so close to home, [they’re] great atmospheres, I love the coaching staffs at both schools. And then Alabama — national championships, that’s just a great opportunity to have.”

In the past, recruits that have offers from Alabama wouldn’t look twice at Kentucky. However, Mark Stoops, Neal Brown and the rest of the UK staff have made keeping in-state talent in-state a priority, and after top 2014 QB Drew Barker committed to the Cats a few week ago, the “come be a hero” campaign has a lot of momentum. However, it was two-time defending National Champion Alabama that gave Elam his first offer, when the talented defensive tackle went to a camp in Tuscaloosa:

“We went in his office — it was me and my coach — and we sat down on his [Nick Saban’s] couch and he was just right in front of me. You hear about him all the time, but [I’m thinking] I’m never going to meet this guy or let alone talk to him and get an offer. It was just very surreal meeting him.”

Alabama’s only negative? It’s not close to Elizabethtown. Fortunately, UK is only an hour and a half away.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

51 Comments for Matt Elam says it’s a “three-horse race” between Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisville

  1. Reasons
    10:54 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    All the reasons we expect Calipari to take elite recruits out of the backyard of other schools are the reasons Elam should go to Bama. Just sayin’.

  2. I live in AL, and Saban is just a recruiting machine (as we all know with all the comparison’s to Calipari’s recruiting). If we can beat him out for this guy (especially with Elam being a defensive player, since that’s Saban’s forte), it will be HUGE!

  3. Jarvis Redwine
    11:08 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    I could be wrong (have been many times before) but I think the young man and Stoops already know he’s headed to UK. This is just another shrewd way to give publicity to UK football and the momentum that is building. Can’t wait ’til he commits to the Cats!

  4. Haha
    11:13 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    @Jarvis You are definitely wrong this time.. He is Bama bound — Ironman

  5. Jarvis Redwine
    11:16 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Time will tell. I’ll bookmark this page and check back with you.

  6. UKfanNKY
    11:24 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Mr. Elam the BBN welcomes you and would like for you to become apart of KENTUCKY FOOTBALL history Coach Stoops and his Staff and top recruits such as YOU will get KENTUCKY FOOTBALL turned around and on the right track to WINNING!!! GO CATS!!!

  7. Not Dan Issel
    11:35 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Let’s be realistic here. We expect top recruits to come to UK to play for Cal and because it is UK (basketball). It’s a similar deal with Saban and Alabama in football. If I’m good enough that Saban offers me a scholarship after my junior year in high school, that tells me 1) I must be a pretty good player and 2) Coach Saban really wants me to come and play for him. I would love for Elam to sign with UK (and hope that he does) but it would be completely understandable if he goes with the Tide. How do you turn that down?

  8. Maters
    11:35 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    How do you turn a football scholarship down to Saban and Bama? Would love to see him in blue but who could blame the kid if he goes South.asblong as it ain’t the dirty birds

  9. UK in Dallas
    11:37 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    I think it’s great this young man is high on UK. Obviously, we would love to have him. I think he would be a stellar addition to what will be a great defensive unit under Stoops, a proven defensive coach. That said, I couldn’t fault him for choosing Alabama, if he want to leave the state. That said, I cannot understand why anyone would choose UL for anything–other than stupid hand signals, tattoos, line beards, and other assorted gangster paraphernalia.

  10. Jim 1
    11:48 am May 24, 2013 Permalink

    The previous staff also made instate talent a priority but Ky kids are not dumb, they know what they like. Give Stoops & Brown a couple of years and the excitment on both sides of the ball will bring the instate talent to UK’s doors.

  11. mirv
    12:19 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    I’m a big UK fan, but Alabama IS football. Would be tough to turn down

  12. MadTex
    12:37 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Still think he’ll go to VMI!!!

  13. get real
    12:44 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Alabama doesn’t care about the 24th best defensive tackle. They get the #1 defensive tackle. UK football is going to be terrible like always. All you people who get worked up with excitement are just going to be let down. Where are the 5 stars?

  14. MadTex
    12:55 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Hey #14 get real……I’ll give you five stars….that’s what you’ll be seeing after I knock you flat on your arse!!!

  15. kyhank
    1:00 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    WE need you big guy, at Alabama you will be a great football player at U.K you will be a Legend

  16. football school
    1:17 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    C’mon down and be a hero! Let’s turn this place into a Football School! Go Big Blue!

  17. That's what he heard
    1:33 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    #16 that’s what Micah Johnson was told too. Ask Shaun Alexander if he feels like going to Bama was a mistake, or for that matter ask Elam’s fellow Etowner Brandon Deaderick.. Seems like he did okay at Bama.

  18. Tackleberry
    1:35 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    I wish my son would follow in the footsteps of his mom (Hooks) and I by attending the police academy. Hightower had nothing on him!

  19. Jarvis Redwine
    1:35 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    18) Or ask Wesley Woodyard, Jacob Tamme or Dermonti Dawson.

  20. Jarvis Redwine
    1:39 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Statistical analysis by Emory University proves that UK is the best place for players who want to get to the NFL.

  21. Gary
    1:53 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    UK will never.. I repeat, NEVER EVER beat Bama for a top notch recruit… As a recruit you would have to be brain dead to not attend ALABAMA~!… Elam has NOT been offered.. nor do I think he will get an offer. Which will be all the more reason for him to attend UK and NOT U of L… TO TAKE OUT BAMA IN HIS CAREER.

  22. Jarvis Redwine
    1:57 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Never say never, because it will happen.

  23. Ask again
    1:58 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    #20 or ask those 3 if they received an offer from Bama. None did, but wonder if they would have gone to Bama if offered, maybe not then even, but if the national champion 3 out of the last 4 years offers, you’d be crazy not to take it. Elam would be gone by the time Stoops rights the ship anyway.

  24. Tampa Satchel
    2:02 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    We need some young men with strong character to be leaders and come be heroes. I will not fault him for picking Alabama, but I sure do hope he comes to Lexington to wear the blue and help get this program turned around.

    Which is better, a home state hero or a potential national championship away from home? Ask Tim Couch if he would do it different. He could have gone anywhere, but he is a hero for life in KY.

  25. Jarvis Redwine
    2:04 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    25) Crazy like a fox. I’ve already given proof that UK gets players to the NFL better than Alabama. At Alabama, he’d be just another face in the crowd of 5-stars and might never start. At UK he’d be an immediate impact player and could go down as a legend. Who wouldn’t want to be a hometown hero? UK’s ship will get righted well before your 5 year window. I expect UK will be highly competitive by year 3 under Stoops. No doubt, Bama is great. But it’s clearly not for everyone.

  26. Tampa Satchel
    2:06 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    @23 Gary- He already has an offer from Alabama. Did you read the quote? Of all his his offers, UK, UL and Alabama are his leaders.

  27. Reasons
    2:08 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    26 Ask John Wall, Anthony Davis, or Nerlens Noel if they wished they had stayed closer to home, or if leaving home to play for a premier program fattened their wallet. Again, the same reasons we expect Cal to haul in elite recruits are the same reasons Elam should go to Bama. If he is rational.

  28. Ask again
    2:11 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    27 did you even read that article you linked? It basically says that UK has had more 3 star talent get drafted than Bama. Uhhh, Elam is not 3 star. Plus I think what you proved is that the previous UK staff actually fared very well in developing players. Lol not what u expected I bet!

  29. Jarvis Redwine
    2:12 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    I can cherry-pick any number of instances where the number one draft pick in the NBA came from a school such as Memphis, Utah and Cincinnati.

  30. Jarvis Redwine
    2:14 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    UK, overall, does well developing players because they PLAY. At Bama, that’s undoubtedly not guaranteed. At UK, it’s almost certain.

  31. Numbers fib
    2:21 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    From the article: “For these analyses, the measure of interest was the number of NFL draft picks from a school divided by the total number of four and five-star recruits signed by the school. We then modeled this conversion rate by the number of five, four and three-star players signed by the school.”
    So I don’t see how UK, in this article’s analysis, could not be highly ranked since in the period of the study, 2007-2012, UK had what maybe one 5 star (Micah Johnson) and I don’t know, maybe three 4 star recruits. If you divide your total draft picks in the period by your low # of high ranked recruits (because you don’t get them) then of course you will be near the top!

  32. Reasons
    2:25 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    31 cherry pick? Lol, I simply named the top draft pick in 3 of the last 4 NBA Drafts (assuming Nerlens is #1). And they went to an elite bball program, not a struggling program chosen by them just because it was their home state school, a la UK football re: Elam

  33. STEVE!
    2:28 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    We tell the top rated basketball players to come to UK and play against the best everyday to become the best. My son, my wife, and I all graduated from UK and would love to see this kid at UK, but how can we tell the top rated football players not to accept an ofer from Alabama?

  34. Tampa Satchel
    2:30 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    @30-The article you referenced actually states that UK produced more NFL draftees than 4/5 stars recruited, so their ratio of elite prospects to drat picks is greater than 1, which is astounding.

    So you can go to Alabama and be a small fish in a big pond or come to UK and stand out more. No one is suggesting that UK is even in the same league as Alabama, but to dismiss the idea that he very well may choose UK is ignorant. This is an emotional decision and kids tend to be more emotional than rational.

  35. Correct
    2:37 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    36 right, how is that astounding when the denominator in the equation is like 2. It is not 4/5 stars recruited, as you say, it is 4/5 stars signed. In the period of the study 2007-2012, I’m guessing UK had about 4 or 5 TOTAL. 4/5 star players.

    so you seem to agree that if he chooses UK over Bama, he is being irrational.

  36. Jay
    2:44 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Alabama has offered over 10 DT’s according to

  37. Jarvis Redwine
    2:50 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    36) and 38) nailed it.

    You can be a big fish (and make an immediate splash) or be a little fish and possibly get lost in the immense pool of talent that is at Bama.

    It’d be an easy decision for me.

    If I was a top-rated basketball player from Utah, I’d certainly give strong consideration to BYU or Utah, if they had a bright, energetic newcomer as head coach. Especially one with a track record of getting kids to the pros, ala Stoops.

  38. portlandky
    2:59 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Since when does it take 1 1/2 hours to travel 86 miles from E-town to Lexington? What the hell are you driving? An Amish horse & buggy?

  39. #39?.
    3:00 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    39 So you would say Anthony Davis should have gone to DePaul because Oliver Purnell is bright and energetic and coming to UK pretty much for the sole purpose of winning a NC was not a good move? You are not being honest with us or yourself if u say as a top recruit from Utah you would go to BYU if Cal or Coach K came calling. Baloney

  40. Jarvis Redwine
    3:02 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    41) Your own example gave you away. Calipari (and now Pastner) got plenty of talent to come to Memphis. How many of those players during Cal’s 1st year were headed to Memphis before he changed jobs?

    Thanks for proving my point.

  41. Jay
    3:07 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    #39 Bright and energetic are the first 2 adjectives that come to mind when I think of Oliver Purnell.

  42. Jarvis Redwine
    3:10 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    43) Got a chuckle out of me on that one. That was an asinine example by 41).

  43. ikeveready
    3:49 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    #36 & 38 have the right idea. To compare Cal and Saban is a little off. Bama has not had the #1 recruiting class every year because football recruiting, by shear volume of players required for a team, is considerably different than basketball where 3-5 Top 10 recruits make a top class. It is almost impossible for a freshman (aside from a perfect situation like Johnny Football or Clowney) to dominate a team or opponents.

    The reason Bama is targeting 10 DT’s is purely for competition – if you get 3 commits to mesh with the 3 you already have then you have tremendous competition for PT. But someone will get left out, won’t develop, get injured, etc. The next year you try to project 3 more for the same purpose. Not to mention you have 3 years before you can even look at moving on to the league. The big + for the recruit is the way Saban recruits, if you don’t have the measurables (or can at least get there) for what he sees a DT, LB, RB, WR looking like, he doesn’t recruit you.

    Basketball, as Cal has proven is not the same. On a court with 5 starters 1-2 players can make all the difference. It’s not the same game.

  44. Ironman says
    3:55 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    Ok Jarvis…shutting u down now…enough trolling for a day!

  45. Jarvis Redwine
    3:58 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    46) That’s not a response. I don’t even know what that means. I present facts that refute your posts whereas, you make stuff up. I expected better from you. Guess not.

  46. Damn!
    4:00 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    System malfunction…run guys…”it” is still trolling…

  47. Jarvis Redwine
    4:02 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    46) I though you were shutting me down?

  48. This Is It...
    8:48 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    #14..For what it is worth, supposedly NS has told Matt that he is the best DT in the country…Just saying and sure hope he comes to be a “HERO” and joins the BBN…

  49. This Is It...
    9:06 pm May 24, 2013 Permalink

    For all you guys who nay say Matt coming to UK …Ask Tim Couch if he made a bad decision and the poor guy is totally broke today…And I think he turned down every school in the country..including Ala…to come to KENTUCKY and become a “HERO”…Come join BBN Matt…