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Wednesday, March 6, 2013
SEC schools come calling for DT Elam

By Dave Hooker

SEC stalwarts are calling for Matt Elam. However, it might be tough to pull him out of Kentucky.

The defensive lineman from Elizabethtown (Ky.) Hardin has repeatedly said he'd like to stay close to home to attend college. That's good news for Kentucky and Louisville. Both schools have offered him a scholarship. That means more work for Alabama, who has offered, and Tennessee and Florida, who have shown recent interest.

However, there are other factors Elam will consider. When asked what he's looking for in a college, he said, "I'd prefer something close to home, but if it's not I can do that too. Just a great defensive program. A great winning tradition. Great facilities and just a great program all around."

Elam will continue to be a coveted prospect. There's not a lot of 6-foot-6, 350-pound college prospects walking around who have reportedly ran a 5.0 in the 40-yard dash. Recruiters have taken notice of Elam's athletic ability.

"It's been great," Elam said of recruiting. "It's been good. It's really fun going through recruiting. Just enjoying it right now."

Kentucky's 2013 class should only provide momentum to help it land Elam. The Wildcats closed strong with first-year coach Mark Stoops, who was hired in December.

"I just like how Coach Stoops came in and got a whole new recruiting class," Elam said. "He's going to change U.K. around. I like how it's close to home."

Louisville offers something similar. Get ready for that home theme again.

"How coach Charlie Strong is just a defensive guy and I'm just a defensive player," Elam said when asked what he likes about the Cardinals. "I know they focus on a lot of defense. It's close to home too so it's plus."

Alabama fans don't fret. Elam has certainly been impressed with the Crimson Tide, even if they aren't as close by as some of his other suitors.

"I just love the tradition, the winning program and I got to meet with Coach [Nick] Saban. That was great too," Elam said. "I just love how there's a family feel down there. It's great down there."

The meeting with Saban seemed to stand out the most from Elam's visit to Tuscaloosa. Saban asked Elam to come to his office before a recent junior day to meet in his office.

"It was nice," Elam said. "It was a great experience."

Elam will take visits to Tennessee, Florida and Louisville soon. The Volunteers and Gators haven't offered yet, but seem likely to do so.

"Tennessee, I haven't been in much contact with," Elam said when asked of the two schools. "They just said they want me to get down there. Florida, they want me to get down there and see a spring practice and game so I'm looking forward to that."

Elam is set to visit Knoxville on March 16 and Gainesville in late March or April. He said he is willing to play in any defensive scheme even though his size makes him seem like a better fit as a 3-4 nose guard. Elam said he plans to drop his weight to 325 pounds. That could make him a better fit in a 4-3.

Elam said he'd prefer to play defense but is willing to play offense. He has played left tackle, defensive tackle and nose guard in high school.