Mark Story: The one thing you need to know about Matt Elam's recruitment

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014 

Fast-break points from the one-half Beatles reunion:

21. Matt Elam. Not sure I've ever seen the opinions of the recruiting services as divided as they are over John Hardin's behemoth (6-foot-5, 372 pounds) of a defensive tackle.

20. Thumbs up on Elam. At 24/7.com, they have Elam as a five-star recruit and the No. 21-rated 2014 prospect in the country.

19. Thumbs down on Elam. At Rivals.com, they have Elam as a three-star recruit and the No. 5-rated 2014 prospect in the state of Kentucky.

18. In between on Elam. At Scout.com, they have Elam as a four-star recruit and the No. 137-rated 2014 prospect in the country.

17. High noon for Elam. The John Hardin standout tweeted Sunday that he will make public his college choice, either home-state Kentucky or traditional football titan Alabama, Thursday at noon.

16. If Elam picks Alabama. It will be the same dynamic, just in reverse, that brought Alabama high school basketball standouts DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Bledsoe to traditional hoops power UK.

15. If Elam picks Kentucky. He will be joining one of the most heralded recruiting classes in UK football history and choosing to be part of trying to build something special in his home state.

14. The inevitable backlash. My least favorite part of recruiting in the Internet era is the venom jilted fan bases direct at teen-aged recruits who do not pick the 'right' team.

13. Tim Patterson. In 2010, Louisville fans teed off on the Central linebacker after he picked UK over hometown U of L.

12. Lamar Dawson. The next season, it was UK backers who vented on the Boyle County linebacker after he chose Southern California.

11. The one thing you need to know about Matt Elam's recruitment. Is that it is his life, and wherever he chooses to go to college, no one has any business using social media to insult a teenager.

10. UK annexes Ohio. According to Rivals.com, Kentucky has football commitments from 11 of the 50 top 2014 prospects from the Buckeye State.

9. Vince Marrow. The Kentucky tight ends coach is listed by Rivals as the lead recruiter on every one of those 11 Ohio commits. That's the logic behind UK's recent move to give Marrow a raise from $175,000 a year to $275,000.

8. Ryan Harrow. The former Kentucky point guard, one of the fall guys for last season's UK collapse into the NIT, is having a bounce-back season at Georgia State. Harrow is averaging 17.8 points and 4.5 assists (vs. only 1.8 turnovers) a game for the Panthers (14-6).

7. Another Kentucky tie. Former Elizabethtown High School big man Curtis Washington, a transfer from Southern California, is averaging 8.5 points and 6.2 rebounds for Georgia State. The Panthers have won 11 games in a row.

6. 2013 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. As you read this, the names of nine of the 10 finalists to become the 33rd Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year have been made public (the 10th will in Wednesday's newspaper).

5. A high school winner? Only Clay County's Richie Farmer (1988) and Leslie County's Tim Couch (1995) have won Sportsman of the Year for their high school sports exploits. This year, hoops standouts Dominique Hawkins (ex-Madison Central) and Makayla Epps (ex-Marion County) hope to become the third.

4. A female winner? Mary T. Meagher (1984) and Jenny Hansen (1994) are the two women who have won Kentucky Sportsman of the Year. Basketball standouts Epps and A'dia Mathies (ex-Kentucky) would like to be the third.

3. A three-time winner? No one has ever won Sportsman of the Year three times. Kenny Perry (the 2003 and 2008 winner) and Rick Pitino (1990 and '96) could each change that.

2. An athletics director as Sportsman? No AD has ever won the award. For a year in which Louisville Cardinals teams won the men's basketball NCAA title and the Sugar Bowl, played in the women's hoops national title game and baseball's College World Series, Tom Jurich is a strong candidate to be the first.

1. The winner is ... The 2013 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, determined by a vote of statewide media members, will be announced Wednesday night, simultaneously, on Kentucky.com and at the third annual Bluegrass Sports Awards Banquet. Full results will be in Thursday's Herald-Leader.

Stay tuned.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230.Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com.

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