The football talent in the state of Kentucky seems to ebb and flow from year to year but has seen a recent spike in producing top-tier talent and Elizabethtown (Ky.) John Hardin junior defensive lineman Matt Elam may be the next big thing.
And it has nothing to do with being 6-foot-6 and 342 pounds.
Elam recorded 65 tackles (19 for loss) with four sacks and three fumble recoveries as a sophomore last season on his way to being named first team all-state by the Associated Press.
John Hardin coach Mark Brown said he's never seen anything like Elam.
"He's the most dominant defensive lineman I've ever coached," Brown said. "You're going to find very few people who can single block him."
But it isn't just Elam's massive size that Brown says separates him from other defensive linemen. It's the way he moves.
"He's not just a fat, slow kid. He can move," Brown said. "When we run sprints, he beats every lineman we have."
That rare blend of size and speed has put Elam on the national radar and is piquing the interest of a who's who in college football, including defending national champion Alabama.
"He's been looked at by a lot of people," Brown said. "A coach from Alabama has been up to see him. We've gotten questions from Clemson. He went down to junior day at Mississippi State. He's getting on the radar."
Brown says the UK staff came down to get a look at Elam in the spring. "I'm retired so I'm not at the school all the time but they visited last spring."
As good as he is already, Brown says Elam, who is expected to start both ways this season, still has his best football ahead of him.
"His potential is unlimited. It's just how hard he wants to work," Brown said. "He still has a long way to go. He just played defensive line last year. He's learning the offense and he knows if he wants to make a name for himself he better be going both ways."
Already have an account? Sign In