'It was a dream come true'

'It was a dream come true'

Matthew Elam was looking for his initial scholarship offer two weeks ago, but now he has risen to the point that he has a pair of SEC extensions to his name. The latter was earned on Saturday while in Tuscaloosa for Alabama's Junior Day. The two-way talent called it a dream come true.

Elizabethtown (Ky.)John Hardin High prospect Matthew Elam entered Saturday with an offer from in-state Kentucky, but he was alerted in what could be the makings of offer No. 2 before getting to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's Junior Day.

"I was very excited about it, I went to the Junior Day and I got there early because Nick [Saban] said he wanted to talk to me," he explained. "I went into his office, and he said he really wants me. He offered me a full ride to play nose tackle at Alabama."

The class of 2014 prospect, who stands 6-foot-6, 300 pounds and plays both ways, was in T-town for the first time in his life.

He may not soon forget it.

"It was just so unreal, it was just amazing that I got to meet Nick Saban and get the offer," he admitted. "It was a dream come true. It was amazing to get the offer, they're one of the best programs in the nation."

The entire day stood out to Elam.

"It was great, the facilities, the new weight room, the staff, the community involvement...it's just a great atmosphere and vibe," he said. "Just how they live and breathe and love football. Everything there is around football, and just not about the team.

"You can see they win, but they want to make you better every day."

The talk with Saban to kick off the day bucked a conception Elam may have had about the coach.

"I thought he was going to be a stuck up old man," he said with a laugh. "But he's down to earth and he cares about everybody.

"He's a good holy man."

Saban's a defense-first coach, and that's where the Crimson Tide envision Elam should he select the national power. That sits just fine with one of the best in the Bluegrass State.

"I'd rather play defense, nose tackle is the position I'd rather play," said the junior. "I just love defense way better than offense.

"It was amazing being offered as a nose tackle!"

Elam wasn't ready to call any program a favorite at the moment, but he did admit that the hometown school has tough competition with the national champs in the mix. Still, the UK offer holds a lot of weight with him.

"That was an amazing feeling," he recalled. Coach [Mark] Stoops is changing that program. It's close to home, so Kentucky is going to be at the top with Alabama.

"I'd rather be close to my family. Location is a big part of it, so they're neck and neck."

With no set decision timetable and so many programs looking into him in a short time-span, there's a sense of perspective in Elam's camp.

"I'm going to have an open mind about every college," he said. "I go down to Tennessee in a couple of weeks, so I want to have an open mind."

When talking about a commitment, he quickly maintains a simple point.

Said Elam, "It's whenever I think it's right, right now."

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