OK Gator fans, some of you have gotten your wish.
After my blog was bombarded with Matt Elam comments, he’s finally putting to rest his recruiting. Florida’s top commit in the 2010 class is staying put with his pledge, so those who jumped off his train, help yourselves back up. For those who never left, you’ve got your man.
Sorry, West Virginia. He might have said he would sign with you a few weeks ago, but he’s staying down south.
Forget it Tennessee. You charmed him for a few days with the “next Eric Berry” talk, but Elam now wants to fight for a spot. Although, I don’t know if I could pass up the chance to have my own Heisman music video [URL=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr2MOiEnnF8]Berry for Heisman [/URL].
To all those schools hoping for a visit from one of the nation’s top safety prospects, he’s now sorry to inform you that he won’t be attending your homecomings or rivalry games. Elam told Rivals.com Wednesday that after a long talk with UF coach Urban Meyer, he’s not taking anymore trips. He’s done with other schools and he’s all Gator.
“I’m not going to Florida State anymore, recruiting is over,” Elam told Rivals. “I’m committed to Florida. Me and Coach Meyer basically had a two-hour talk. You know me and him go way back. We talked about our relationship. I sat down and thought about it, and I really don’t want to be wasting the time of anyone else.”
Ironically, a few days earlier, UF safeties coach Chuck Heater and cornerback Joe Haden had some advice for recruits out there. I must point out that neither was talking specifically to or about Elam. Funny how things work out sometimes.
Being the Gators’ safety coach, Heater obviously knew about the Elam situation and knew that Elam was talking about how thought he didn’t need to sit and wait in college. Well, if you’re good enough, you’ll get your chance. Even with the Gators.
“We’ve had a pretty good track record for playing young players,” Heater said. “Joe Haden was a freshman, Will Hill was a freshman, Janoris Jenkins was a freshman. Those guys were all true freshmen who played here and played really, really well.”
Speaking of Haden, he might have started as a true freshman, but it certainly wasn’t easy. Making that jump from high school is a whole new ball game and recruits should be prepared for that.
“Once you get here it’s totally different,” he said. “Everybody at their position was the best where they came from whether it be me in Maryland or people come from Florida, California.
“Everybody was the best in their state at that position, so just knowing you have to work hard every single day to get that much better. It’s not just talent. It’s work ethic and knowing the plays and worrying about more than athletic ability.”
Elam said he decided to take playing time out of the equation for a second and thought about where he was comfortable, where he felt his family was. In the end, it was Florida.
But should those feelings of him expecting his starting spot to be wrapped up and waiting for him arise, Haden’s got an important message for Elam and all of those recruits out there.
“If you really think somebody’s going to give something to you then you don’t deserve to be here at all,” he said.