When it comes to producing talent, Kentucky is a state that is overshadowed by Florida, California, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Ohio. However, defensive tackle Matt Elam is a prospect who is helping the Bluegrass State stand out on the recruiting trail.
A huge defensive lineman who plays for John Hardin High School in Kentucky, Elam is a coveted player who has the potential to become a great contributor to a college defense. His size, outstanding power and potential all make him one of the more intriguing recruits in this class.
Elam is definitely worth a closer look.
Not to be confused with the Baltimore Ravens' safety, Matt Elam is a recruit in the 2014 class. As a sophomore in 2011, he had 65 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles, which earned him All-State honors, according to 247Sports.
Elam is an intimidating presence who can physically dominate the trenches at the high school level. Programs such as Alabama, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Louisville are all being considered by Elam, says 247Sports.
Elam is ranked No. 10 on 247Sports Top247 board.
Elam has fantastic size at 6'6" and 350 pounds. He flashes good quickness at the snap, has deceptive athleticism and can pursue the football in a hurry in tight spaces.
Elam is a powerful defensive lineman who can be a violent force in the interior trenches. He plays to his listed size at the point of attack, can overpower his opponent and has the ability to fight double-teams.
As a pass-rusher, he is capable of pushing the pocket, as he bull-rushes offensive linemen.
Elam's size also allows him to be a natural space-eater, which helps keep the linebackers behind him free to make plays. His natural position is nose tackle, as Elam's combination of strength and above-average quickness creates problems for centers.
At 350 pounds, it is easy to wonder about Elam's body composition. His inconsistent motor and limited range are evidence of his questionable conditioning.
Elam must improve his ability to use his hands as weapons, as at this stage it appears he is simply bigger and stronger than all of his opponents. College offensive linemen who are quicker and have better technique than Elam will be able to give him more of a fight.
This is a clip of more than seven minutes of Elam making plays during his sophomore season. His strength and power are on full display, as his advanced size allows Elam to be a force.
If he can stay on top of his conditioning, Elam could be a great nose tackle.
Elam is never going to lead his team in sacks, nor will he make many flashy plays. However, he is a player who is going to be a key contributor to a college defense. He is going eat blocks, fight double-teams and be stout against the run.
His size, strength and power will make him one of the most intimidating players in his school's conference.
Nose tackles such as Tony Siragusa, Casey Hampton and Vince Wilfork all have been critical players on excellent defenses, and Elam has the potential to be a similar player in college.