The Irish will be hosting one of their biggest recruiting events of the year this weekend when they take on USC and a number of Notre Dame's top 2014 targets will be in attendance. Quite possibly the biggest recruit, and I mean that literally, that will be on campus this Saturday will be four-star defensive tackle, Matt Elam.
“Matt is a unique player in the fact that he’s 6-foot-6, 360-pounds and can really move,” said John Hardin head coach Chad Lewis. “I feel like his playing weight in college is probably going to be around 325-to-330 pounds. I mean, even at that weight, he's got phenomenal quickness and I've told other people that he's almost ‘cat quick’, especially when he's around the 330 range.
“Matt's a good person and he tries to be a leader for us on our team. He's a guy that likes to goof around sometimes, but at the same time he knows when he steps between the lines on the field, it's time to get serious.”
It's easy to see why the Kentucky native already has a number of big-time offers, but recently he's decided to concentrate on just six of the top programs in the nation and it’s an impressive list.
“He's going to make a decision on January 4th at the Army All-American game in San Antonio,” claimed coach Lewis. “He's narrowed it down to Kentucky, Alabama, Notre Dame, Louisville, Tennessee and Ohio State. They’ve all done a really good job recruiting him.”
With all the overwhelming response he's been receiving from the college elite, Elam’s been doing all he can just to keep up with the process.
“He's just like your typical 17-to-18-year-old kid and is in awe of getting all this attention,” explained the John Hardin head coach. “He's trying to stay levelheaded and humble, so he's just taken it all in right now. He'll only get to go through this once in his life, so this is definitely a great accomplishment for him.”
Next up for Elam will be his official visit to Notre Dame- which will be his second visit to see the Irish (the first was earlier this summer)- but this time his coach will be tagging along.
“My assistant coach and I will be bringing Matt up to South Bend this weekend for his official visit,” shared coach Lewis. “He comes from a single parent home, and his mom does a great job raising him, but we just try to help him in any way we can and taken him on these visits is a way we can do that.It allows us to be role models for Matt.
“I know it's an exciting time for him, but this'll be an exciting time for us coaches also. As a kid, Notre Dame was always the team you saw on TV and this is going to be a childhood dream for me to come watch the game this weekend. To have an opportunity to see the Stadium and facilities for the first time, I'm really looking forward to it.”
Coach Lewis also likes where he sees the Irish program heading under head coach Brian Kelly.
“Notre Dame’s obviously one of the elite, premier programs in the country and they’re back on the map. Coach Kelly's done a tremendous job with them and competed in the national championship game last year, so he's got that program, you hate to say turned around because they were never really gone from the scene, but from Notre Dame standards they were probably down some. Now he's got them on the right track and he's bringing in some of the top recruits in the country to build up the program.
“Matt will have to make his own decision in the end, but if he decided that Notre Dame was the place, I think it would be a good fit for him.”