UF's Elam first-team All-American
Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.
One of Matt Elam’s rewards for a big 2012 season is a big honor.
The Florida junior safety was named a first-team Associated Press All-American on Tuesday. He is the Gators’ first first-team AP All-American since Chas Henry in 2010 and the first UF defensive back to make the first team since Joe Haden in 2009.
Three other Gators were named to the AP third team — junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, record-setting senior place-kicker Caleb Sturgis and sophomore punter Kyle Christy.
Elam, a true junior from West Palm Beach Dwyer, emerged as the Gators’ biggest playmaker on defense this season. He intercepted four passes, recorded 65 tackles, including 10 for losses, had one sack, four pass breakups and forced one fumble.
Elam is among the nine SEC players on the AP first team.
Elam is one of four Florida juniors contemplating an early departure to the NFL. The others are Floyd, tight end Jordan Reed and outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins.
Floyd gave the UF defensive line an imposing inside presence this season, recording 41 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, one sack, six quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick. He is the first UF defensive lineman recognized on the AP All-America team since Alex Brown in 2001.
Sturgis, UF’s all-time field goal leader, made 23 of 27 field-goal attempts this season and led the Gators in scoring with 101 points. He was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award for the second consecutive season.
Christy has been one of the Gators’ most consistent weapons this season and consistently flipped field position in UF’s favor with his booming punts. He averaged 46.10 yards a punt, sixth in the nation, and was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
Coach Will Muschamp said after the victory over Florida State that the Gators would not have won 11 games this season if not for the stellar play of their two kickers — Christy and Sturgis.
2012 Associated Press All-America Team
Quarterback — Johnny Manziel, redshirt freshman, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Texas A&M.
Running backs — Montee Ball, senior, 5-11, 215, Wisconsin; Ka'Deem Carey, sophomore, 5-10, 197, Arizona.
Tackles — Luke Joeckel, junior, 6-6, 310, Texas A&M; Taylor Lewan, junior, 6-8, 309, Michigan.
Guards — Chance Warmack, senior, 6-3, 320, Alabama; Jonathan Cooper, senior, 6-3, 295, North Carolina.
Center — Barrett Jones, senior, 6-5, 302, Alabama.
Tight end — Zach Ertz, senior, 6-6, 252, Stanford.
Receivers — Marqise Lee, sophomore, 6-0, 195, Southern California; Terrance Williams, senior, 6-2, 205, Baylor.
All-purpose player — Tavon Austin, senior, 5-9, 171, West Virginia.
Kicker — Cairo Santos, junior, 5-8, 160, Tulane.
Ends — Jadeveon Clowney, sophomore, 6-6, 256, South Carolina; Bjoern Werner, junior, 6-4, 255, Florida State.
Tackles — Star Lotulelei, senior, 6-4, 320, Utah; Will Sutton, junior, 6-1, 267, Arizona State.
Linebackers — Manti Te'o, senior, 6-2, 255, Notre Dame; Jarvis Jones, junior, 6-3, 241, Georgia; C.J. Mosley, junior, 6-2, 232, Alabama.
Cornerbacks — Dee Milliner, junior, 6-1, 199, Alabama; Jordan Poyer, sophomore, 6-0, 172, Oregon State.
Safeties — Phillip Thomas, senior, 6-1, 215, Fresno State; Matt Elam, junior, 5-10, 202, Florida.
Punter — Ryan Allen, senior, 6-2, 215, Louisiana Tech.
Quarterback — Collin Klein, senior, Kansas State.
Running backs — Kenjon Barner, senior, Oregon; Johnathan Franklin, senior, UCLA.
Tackles — D.J. Fluker, junior, Alabama; David Yankey, junior, Stanford.
Guards — Spencer Long, junior, Nebraska; Cyril Richardson, junior, Baylor.
Center — Dalton Freeman, senior, Clemson.
Tight end — Tyler Eifert, senior, Notre Dame.
Receivers — Stedman Bailey, junior, West Virginia; Quinton Patton, senior, Louisiana Tech.
All-purpose player — Jordan Lynch, junior, Northern Illinois.
Kicker — Dustin Hopkins, senior, Florida State.
Ends — Damontre Moore, junior, Texas A&M; Stephon Tuitt, sophomore, Notre Dame.
Tackles — Johnathan Hankins, junior, Ohio State; Kawann Short, senior, Purdue.
Linebackers — Kevin Minter, junior, LSU; Anthony Barr, junior, UCLA; Arthur Brown, senior, Kansas State.
Cornerbacks — Johnthan Banks, senior, Mississippi State; Bradley Roby, sophomore, Ohio State.
Safeties — Eric Reid, junior, LSU; Tony Jefferson, junior, Oklahoma.
Punter — Riley Stephenson, senior, BYU.
Quarterback — A.J. McCarron, junior, Alabama.
Running backs — Stefphon Jefferson, junior, Nevada; Giovani Bernard, sophomore, North Carolina.
Tackles — Jake Matthews, junior, Texas A&M; Eric Fisher, senior, Central Michigan.
Guards — Larry Warford, senior, Kentucky; Xavier Su'a-Filo, sophomore, UCLA.
Center — Braxston Cave, senior, Notre Dame.
Tight end — Austin Seferian-Jenkins, sophomore, Washington.
Receivers — DeAndre Hopkins, junior, Clemson; Cobi Hamilton, senior, Arkansas.
All-purpose player — Dri Archer, junior, Kent State.
Kicker — Caleb Sturgis, senior, Florida.
Ends — John Simon, senior, Ohio State; Sam Montgomery, junior, LSU.
Tackles — Shariff Floyd, junior, Florida; Chris Jones, senior, Bowling Green.
Linebackers — Khaseem Greene, senior, Rutgers; Trent Murphy, senior, Stanford; Kyle Van Noy, junior, BYU.
Cornerbacks — Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, sophomore, Oregon; Jason Verrett, junior, TCU.
Safeties — Ed Reynolds, junior, Stanford; Ty Zimmerman, junior, Kansas State.
Punter — Kyle Christy, sophomore, Florida.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.