No. 24 Matt Elam
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 12:56 a.m.
Gatorsports.com counts down the Top 25 players in the Southeastern Conference.
NO. 24 MATT ELAM
Florida junior safety
Weight: 210 lbs
Why he's No. 24: Elam is one of the most consistent and battle-tested defensive players in the SEC. He plays with great instinct and can cover receivers man-to-man and also is strong defending the run. He was UF's best defensive player the second half of last season and has a chance to emerge as one of the league's elite defenders in 2012.
College career: Elam started all 13 games as a true sophomore last season and has appeared in every UF game the past two years (26). Last season, he led the Gators in tackles for loss (11), pass break-ups (seven) and forced fumbles (two). He has 100 career tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups and two interceptions.
Fun fact: If the Gators ever need someone to step up and carry the football in an emergency situation, Elam could be the guy. While an All-America defensive player in high school, Elam was also a pretty fair tailback, rushing for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns his senior season at West Palm Beach Dwyer. In the state championship game his senior year, he rushed for 187 yards and four touchdowns to lead Dwyer to a victory over Niceville.