As the recruiting season winds down, it’s time for early enrollees to figure out their future plans. The biggest one concerning Florida? How about committed West Palm Beach Dwyer safety Matt Elam? His recruitment has been the ultimate roller coaster for him, fans and definitely coaches. One week he seems to be all Gator — he’s wearing the gear at games and doing the Gator chomp – but the next he’s pumping up other schools. In a recent interview with the Palm Beach Post, Elam said that while he’s committed to Florida, the school that has the best chance of plucking him away from Urban Meyer’s grasp is Florida State. Yes, the school that lost its head coach and has yet to name a defensive coordinator could be the surprise school to snatch away Elam.
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg said he’s “not sold on Elam playing at UF.”
“I won’t be shocked if he ends up at Florida State,” Newberg said of Elam.
FSU’s closure with the Bobby Bowden issue and the way Jimbo Fisher has been able to recruit has helped them in the last few weeks and could be enough to send Elam to Tallahassee, Newberg said.
Here we go again. Elam has filled out his early enrollee papers with UF but can’t send them in until he graduates. That will give other schools like FSU and Tennessee a chance to swoop in and steal him away from Florida. Fortunately for the Gators, they will get one last chance to influence him this weekend when Elam officially visits with a boatload of other talented recruits.
Meyer now finds himself in a bit of a bind. He’s devoted so much to the Elam family. He’s very close to the Elams, so close that most of his recruiting attention has been with Elam and Elam alone for the longest time. That, Newberg said, could be a big mistake for the Gators if Elam decides to go elsewhere.
Elam has made it publicly known that he doesn’t want Florida recruiting any other safeties, and Florida hasn’t. That could come back to haunt them, Newberg said.
“The thing that really kills Florida is they could have a great shot at landing Tony Jefferson, but they told Elam he’s the only safety they’d recruit,” he said. “It could be tactical error.”
Why a tactical error? Well, like Elam, Jefferson (Chula Vista, Calif., Eastlake) is an early enrollee, was a Florida lean not too long ago and was headed in for an official visit for the FSU game. But the staff decided not to ruffle any of Elam’s feathers and decided not to have Jefferson come in. So, if Elam makes his mind up after Jefferson and it’s not good news for the Gators, they could lose out on two tremendous safety prospects.
Rivals ranks Jefferson as the fourth-best safety in the country.
This one seriously will come down to the final day for Elam, and a lot is riding on his commitment.