Elam honored with state prep award at half


UF early enrollee Matt Elam waves to the crowd after receiving the 2009 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football Award during halftime.

Aaron E. Daye/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, January 23, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 12:18 a.m.

Fans were officially introduced to one of Florida’s biggest recruits of the 2010 class Saturday night.

During halftime of the Florida-South Carolina men’s basketball game, West Palm Beach Dwyer safety Matt Elam was honored as the 2009 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football.

Elam is one of UF’s 11 early enrollees from a class of 25 that is currently the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country.

Elam is the 18th winner of the annual award sponsored by Dairy Farmers, Inc. and the Florida Athletic Coaches Association to honor the top high school football player in the state.

Elam joins Tim Tebow (2005) as the only other Gator to receive the award.

During his senior year, Elam collected 92 total tackles, including eight for loss, six sacks and two interceptions, while leading Dwyer to a 14-1 record and the Class 4A state title. Elam also played running back, rushing for 1,895 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns.

Elam was also named a U.S. Army and Under Armour All-American.

Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN all ranked Elam as a five-star prospect.

Elam’s journey to Florida was a bit choppy as he first committed during his junior year. However, he began to waver on his commitment during the fall after Florida continued to recruit other safety prospects. Elam then switched his commitment to Florida State on New Year’s Eve because of concern over UF coach Urban Meyer’s health.

After a phone conversation with Meyer while in San Antonio for the U.S. Army all-star game practice, Elam then de-committed from Florida State and re-committed to Florida during the Army game.

Elam said it was his relationship and faith in Meyer, who he met while Meyer recruited his older brother Abram to Notre Dame during the mid-90s, that made him re-affirm his pledge to UF.

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