Elam picks UK over Alabama

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Scroll down to see video of today's announcement

By Chuck Jones

After months of speculation and a whirlwind recruitment, John Hardin senior Matt Elam picked Kentucky over perennial national power Alabama on Thursday afternoon, announcing his decision in the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center.

Elam was going to make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 in San Antonio, but decided to postpone the announcement. He took an official visit to Alabama on Jan. 17, and then attended Kentucky’s basketball game last Saturday against Georgia in Lexington.

The 6-foot-6, 360-pound tackle is ranked as the nation’s No. 7 overall prospect by 247Sports.com. At defensive tackle, he is ranked the second best by 247Sports.com, 12th by Scout.com, 24th by ESPN and 26th by Rivals.com. He also had scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Louisville, Ohio State and Tennessee but eliminated those from contention.

Elam recorded 84 tackles, including 66 solo stops as a senior. The defensive tackle made 15 tackles for a loss and four sacks despite teams dedicating extra manpower to slow him down.

Elam won the Paul Hornung Award in December and was selected the Defensive Player of the Year in the state by USA Today earlier this month. He was named to the 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Kentucky Football Team.

He also was a finalist for Mr. Football, which was given to Bowling Green senior Nacarius Fant. Elam was the Area Lineman of the Year for the second consecutive year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year and first-team selection. He also was selected to the Associated Press and Louisville Courier-Journal’s first-team and the Lexington Herald-Leader’s Class of Commonwealth, which recognizes the top 22 seniors.

Chuck Jones can be reached at 270-505-1759 or cjones@thenewsenterprise.com.