'Forever striving for more': Former Benjamin star Kaiir Elam declares for NFL Draft

Emilee Smarr
Palm Beach Post

Florida Gators cornerback Kaiir Elam announced his intentions to forfeit his final year of collegiate eligibility to declare for the NFL Draft.

"I wouldn't trade this for anything else because it taught me a lot of learned lessons and it taught me how to keep battling and how to keep going," Elam said of his last three years in Gainesville.

Making an Orange Bowl appearance and getting his first snaps as a true freshman under coach Dan Mullen and a regular starter as a sophomore, Elam posted 78 tackles – 2.5 for loss – five interceptions, 20 pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 34 games.

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"Making my decision to come here, I felt like the University of Florida was a no brainer honestly," Elam said.

Before enrolling to be a Gator in May of 2019, the four-star rated prospect touted offers from Georgia, Miami, Clemson, Auburn, Florida State, Louisville – generally any Power 5 school that comes to mind.

The nation's No. 48 overall prospect and No. 6 ranked cornerback in the 2019 recruiting class, Elam is now the collegiate level's third-ranked corner ahead of the Combine in March, according to PFF.

Pro Football Focus found that throughout Elam's college career, the elite defender allowed just 46.5 percent of his targets to capitalize on their receptions, putting him in the ranks of fellow UF alums in the NFL – namely Vernon Hargreaves III (47.5), Duke Dawson (50.5), C.J. Henderson (52.7), Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (54.8), and Marco Wilson (60.5).

Despite missing a four-game stretch due to a knee injury, the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Elam still displays the build, production, physicality, and starting experience sought out in a first-round draft pick.

"Being able to come back to The Swamp was something I will cherish for the rest of my life, and being a Gator is something I will cherish for the rest of my life," Elam said.

"I am forever thankful and forever grateful."