The SEC will welcome another topflight talent this winter as 4-star defensive tackle prospect Matt Elam has committed to Kentucky, according to Matt Jones of KentuckySportsRadio.com:
MATT ELAM Picks KENTUCKY— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) January 30, 2014
Elam spoke about the decision following his announcement (via Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal):
Elam: “It is very hard to turn down Alabama. That’s just the Mecca of football.”— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) January 30, 2014
Elam's final decision came down to a choice between two schools: Kentucky and Alabama. Prior to his official announcement, he compared the two programs, per 247Sports's Barton Simmons:
I will say I'm definitely more comfortable right now at Kentucky than Alabama. I know a lot of their commit better and it's an in-home state. It's no competition in the football world with Alabama because of the national championships, where they get to play and the stage that they're on. It's just way more prestigious than Kentucky.
A native of Elizabethtown, Ky., the 6'5", 372-pound lineman is rated as the second-best prospect from the state of Kentucky among the Class of 2014 as well as the No. 13 defensive tackle in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Elam played at John Hardin High School in his hometown, quickly turning heads thanks to his unrivaled blend of height and bulk.
Elam is an obvious factor in run defense as his wide frame allows him to eat up space at the line of scrimmage and make life easier for his linebackers.
He's also a difference-maker as a pass-rusher. His strength has allowed him to explode through blockers and push the pocket at the high school level. However, he'll need to get stronger and improve his technique in order to become a consistent threat at the college level.
Regardless, you can't teach Elam's biggest asset, and that's size, per ESPN recruiting reporter Damon Sayles on Twitter:
How do you think Elam will perform at Kentucky?
Elam will be larger than most of the offensive linemen he faces at the next level, giving him an undeniable advantage if he can continue to improve his upper-body strength and polish his skill set.
Kentucky is clearly acquiring a defensive force in the middle. The Wildcats can only hope that Elam capitalizes on his physical prowess in the coming years and develops into a game-changing talent at some point down the road.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.