Four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin) committed to in-state Kentucky on Thursday over an all-out Alabama Crimson Tide effort.
Elam's pledge is a huge recruiting win for Mark Stoops and staff as the Wildcats inch closer to a first-ever top-25 finish in the RecruitingNation class rankings.
The 6-foot-5, 350-pound Elam initially gave serious consideration to Kentucky, Alabama and Notre Dame, making official visits to Lexington Dec. 13, Tuscaloosa Jan. 17 and South Bend Oct. 19.
Over the weekend, however, his last visit to a campus went to Kentucky, with Elam attending the Wildcats basketball game.
With Elam in the fold, Kentucky now has 28 commitments for 2014. The class includes six ESPN 300 prospects: No. 113 Denzel Ware (Crestview, Fla./Crestview), No. 173 Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Conner Senior), No. 205 Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), No. 208 Stanley Williams (Monroe, Ga./George Walton Academy), No. 248 Darius West (Lima, Ohio/Lima Central Catholic) and No. 284 Kendall Randolph (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln).
Kentucky has also now locked down three of the state's top four prospects in 2014 with Barker, Elam and three-star defensive tackle Adrian Middleton (Bowling Green, Ky./South Warren).
As important as keeping the best in-state talent is signing a potential multi-year starting signal-caller in Barker and adding both impact players and depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Fifteen of the Wildcats' 28 recruits in the class are on the defensive side, with an emphasis on the defensive line and secondary. Seven members of the class have already signed or enrolled, including Barker and junior college cornerback A.J. Stamps (Vicksburg, Miss./East Mississippi Community College).