Florida’s Top 10 Safeties

Florida safety Reggie Nelson lays out LSU's Brandon LaFell in the game played Oct. 7, 2006 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Doug Engle/Staff photographer]

So here was the idea. In 2006, we ranked the top 100 Florida football players on the 100th anniversary of Florida football. A lot of players have been stars since then, so let’s re-rank them. But that would mean kicking some of those players to the curb. So instead, we give you this as you try to take your minds off things — the Top 10 Gators at each position over the last 114 years of football. This is the 11th of a 13-part series.

Today — The safeties.

Up next — The punters and kickers.

  1. Reggie Nelson (2005-06) — They called him “The Eraser” for a reason. Nelson had to go to junior college for a year but when he arrived on campus, Florida’s secondary changed because he seemingly could get to everything. He had six interceptions in Florida’s 2006 championship season.
  2. Louis Oliver (1985-88) — Oliver was a former walk-on and had interceptions in each of his four seasons, finishing with a total of 11. He was an All-American in his last two seasons.
  3. Lawrence Wright (1992-96) — Wright is Florida’s only Jim Thorpe Award winner for the nation’s best defensive back. Who could forget his weaving pick-six in the Sugar Bowl or his hit on Tennessee’s Joey Kent?
  4. Jarvis Williams (1984-87) — Speaking of hard hits, remember the one he laid on Miami’s Melvin Bratton? Williams was an All-American in 1987 and ’88.
  5. Major Wright (2007-09) — There seems to be a theme here. Wright’s hit against Oklahoma’s Manny Johnson set the tone for the 2008 NC game. He finished with 165 tackles and eight interceptions. 
  6. Ahmad Black (2007-10) — Black had 13 picks and as many tackles for loss. The interception against Oklahoma clinched the 2008 NC and his pick-six wrapped up Urban Meyer’s last game in the Outback Bowl. 
  7. Matt Elam (2010-12) — Elam was an All-American who had an amazing 22 tackles for a loss in his last two seasons to go along with six career interceptions and one memorable strip of LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. 
  8. Keanu Neal (2013-14) — Neal was a hard hitter who finished his career with 134 tackles, four interceptions and a fumble return for a score.
  9. Will White (1989-1992) — White finished his career with 14 interceptions and an All-American honor in 1990. That year he had three picks in Florida’s program-changing win over Alabama.
  10. Bruce Bennett (1963-65) — Bennett had a nose for the ball at a time when teams didn’t pass the ball all that much. He had 13 picks and was an All-American.