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Matt Elam delivers the best recruiting pitch yet for in-state stars

My perspective of Elam, from 5’4″.

Freshman defensive tackle Matt Elam was a popular guy today, fielding a wide variety of questions, mostly about his size. I’d say his personality is larger than life, but for him, that’s almost impossible. Elam’s size is staggering from every perspective, and instead of being insecure about it as some might, Elam rolls with the punches, embracing the jokes and proudly standing at his full height of 6’7″. Elam is already a pro with the media, which is good, because he had a huge crowd around him all day. Elam politely and enthusiastically answered each question, practically glowing when he talked about his decision to come to Kentucky, and the importance of in-state players to the program.

“I’m proud that I came here, and I’m happy with it,” Elam told me, with his huge chest held high.”A lot of people were surprised I picked Kentucky over Alabama, but I’m an in-state guy and the coaching change really just opened my eyes.” Elam maintains that had Mark Stoops not been named UK’s head coach, he wouldn’t have considered Kentucky, and picking the Cats over Alabama was about more than just winning. “Coach Stoops, Coach Brown and Coach Brumbaugh, I just know that they can help me along in this process and make me a better player, and that at the end of the day, that’s where you need to go. You can’t just go to a program that’s just winning. You can go to a program anywhere that’s just winning, but I wanted to come here and be the man and get help and get me where I need to be for the next level.”

Elam and fellow in-state star Drew Barker were the linchpins of the 2014 recruiting class, and Elam said he hopes their decisions inspire more top in-state talent to stay home and be a hero (hint, hint Damien Harris). “I feel like we just love the state of Kentucky, we need more players from the state of Kentucky because that’s the cornerstone. That’s what you need to build on is players from Kentucky. You can go out and get these other players, but I feel like we definitely have some pride. We saw this community of football heading more towards basketball, and definitely just want to bring more wins and more people into football in Kentucky.”

My perspective of Elam, from 5'4".

My perspective of Elam, from 5’4″.

Madison Southern star Damien Harris is in a similar position as Elam was, being recruited by the elite of the elite, yet still feeling the tug to help turn around the home state school. It’s a difficult decision–Elam called it the hardest of his life–but he insists it’s possible to achieve your NFL dreams at UK while helping build the program you grew up loving:

“You don’t have to leave to go to a different school to play and go to the league (NFL) or whatever your dreams are. You can definitely handle those type of things here. It’s in the SEC, there’s a lot of positive things about being at Kentucky. You can look at the past records and everything, I mean, they haven’t been winning a lot of games, but wins aren’t everything to me. If you’re getting better, that’s good for you.”

Elam says he knows change won’t happen overnight. In fact, when asked what he wants his legacy at UK to be, Elam said he wants to be one of the guys to help get the ball rolling. “Just a guy that helped change the program and lead it into the right light. I don’t expect Kentucky to go from winning two games to being undefeated, that’s just unrealistic. I just want to see improvement in everything and guys coming in from in-state and guys staying here because Kentucky is a great school. It’s not just a basketball school, it’s football, too, and the coaching staff is going to change that.”

In his quest to build the Kentucky football program, Stoops couldn’t have asked for a better cornerstone than Elam.

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.

10 Comments for Matt Elam delivers the best recruiting pitch yet for in-state stars

  1. Jimbob Bautista
    8:21 pm August 8, 2014 Permalink

    Holy crap, I love this guy. I hope he stays healthy and has a long productive career at UK and the NFL.

  2. ukmd81
    9:10 pm August 8, 2014 Permalink

    wow,that should be recruiters pitch,he should go into markerting

  3. Come on
    9:52 pm August 8, 2014 Permalink

    That’s the first time I’ve seen him smile

  4. bigbluetruth
    10:28 pm August 8, 2014 Permalink

    The old saying “a fool and his money soon part” will be proved wrong this year and remember you read it here as I’ve been called a fool several times in the last 3-4 weeks because of a bet I’ve made with a LOSERVILLE fan. I’ve bet him $1000 that when the CATS beat LOSERVILLE in the Pizza Bowl this year it will be at least the sixth win for BIG BLUE FOOTBALL this year and it’s mainly because of players such as Elam and Barker. For one, if Barker don’t start or even red shirts don’t think he won’t have a lot to do with on field success this year. By the way, this is our first bet like this on the football game. We’ve bet $1000 on every basketball game since Coach Cal arrived in Lexington and you all know I’m up quite a bit. We watch the sweet 16 game together last year and he ran his mouth a lot for 35 minutes of the game, got real quiet in the last 5 minutes. This betting all came about him (like most stupid LOSERVILLE fans) running his mouth after Mitch hired Coach Cal and him telling me how bad of coach Cal was and how SLICK RICK would own him. Now he’s saying the same about Coach Stoops. So, as Matt likes to say, gotta keep the mojo going.

  5. NeverGotOffTheGround
    12:31 pm August 9, 2014 Permalink

    Better knock 40 pounds off or he will be dead weight on the field. A one year red shirt with a fitness instructor and a lock on the fridge door would be a good start.

    • Doncosmic
      7:45 am August 10, 2014 Permalink

      considering his height i really don’t think he is overweight.

  6. Domino
    1:43 pm August 9, 2014 Permalink

    Wow. What a great perspective!

    Love this man’s attitude.

  7. Tom
    11:23 am August 10, 2014 Permalink

    ‘wins aren’t everything to me’
    That’s been attitude at Kentucky for many years.

  8. Jim Harris
    7:07 pm August 10, 2014 Permalink

    I like the KENTUCKY pride he demonstrates. It may sound selfish on his part that his goal was to go to a school that could get him to the league, but it’s true that an outstanding talent can do it from lowly UK as well as from Bama—even if UK’s record is back to back 2-10s. IMO a great player on a modestly good team is called on to do more because he can do things so well. And this makes him stand out even more. Just ask R. Cobb.

    I don’t think he meant that he’d be satisfied with losses, rather that losses wouldn’t hurt an individual’s chance to get the attention of NFL scouts. And he’s right.

    BBT, I like your attitude but I hope the $1000 is “extra” money.
    Mrs.T, excellent report.

  9. Piedma Schwartz
    9:23 am August 11, 2014 Permalink

    Good kid.