03/13/2013 - 2013 Florida Pro Day: Several of Florida's other prospects elected simply to focus on their positional drills, including strong safety Matt Elam, widely regarded as the second-best prospect (behind Floyd) from the Gators this year, as well as offensive tackle Xavier Nixon, inside linebacker Jon Bostic and tight end Jordan Reed.
The Bengals and Rams struggled in the secondary a year ago and so it is worth noting that their defensive backs coaches, Mark Carrier and Chuck Cecil, respectively, were credited with running the DB drills. Elam reportedly made several noteworthy receptions, as did Reed, who came through with a few one-handed catches on the day. Kicker Caleb Sturgis also helped his cause by showing an explosive leg, including hitting a 58-yard field goal on the rain-soaked field. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
02/24/2013 - With the NFL on the lookout for safeties who can play physical and cover in space, the SEC is sending a group of versatile safeties to the 2013 NFL Draft who won't last long on draft weekend. Led by potential first rounders Kenny Vaccaro (Texas) and Jonathan Cyprien (FIU), this year's class of safeties is deep, but it's the group from college football's premier conference that is creating the buzz.
Although often overlooked due to his size, Florida's Matt Elam is determined to stand out, despite his shorter stature. And he is able to do so because of his physicality. "I'm not the biggest safety, but I feel like I play hard and that makes me stand out," Elam explained. "I love to strike people and I feel that will help me stand out the most."
Elam cited his past experience on offense as the reason he likes to "deliver the blow" instead of receive them. But what about his ability to hold up in coverage? "I feel I'm versatile, I can cover slot receivers," Elam answered. "I can go down and cover, play in the box, play in the post, that will make me stand out." - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/24/2013 - TOP 10: SCHOOLS HIT HARDEST BY EARLY DEPARTURES: 3. Florida: The Gators' defense, which was so solid until the Sugar Bowl, lost three really talented guys -- one at each level of the defense. DT Sharrif Floyd could be dominant (13 TFLs, two blocked kicks) while safety Matt Elam was a playmaker in the secondary (76 tackles, 11 TFLs, four INTs). LB Jelani Jenkins struggled with injuries and didn't have much to show for his time at UF in terms of production. Versatile TE Jordan Reed, who caught 45 passes for 559 yards, also will be missed. DT Dominique Easley (8.5 TFLs) is a guy some suspected might jump but didn't. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com
01/03/2013 - Two Florida juniors announced their future plans following Florida's 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night. Safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd have decided to forego their remaining eligibility and enter the NFL draft. Both players are projected as late first-round prospects. Elam was a first-team All-American this season for the Gators (11-2). Floyd was named to the first team All-Southeastern Conference team. Two more UF juniors, defensive end Dominique Easley and tight end Jordan Reed, remain undecided on whether or not to return to school. - Hays Carlyon, Jacksonville.com
01/03/2013 - Florida juniors Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd made it official Wednesday night after the Sugar Bowl that they will skip their senior seasons and enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Louisville defeated Florida, 33-23, in the Sugar Bowl. Elam currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 1 strong safety and Floyd as the No. 6 defensive tackle. Both are projected as mid-to-late first round picks, appearing in NFLDraftScout.com's first round projections. Tight end Jordan Reed, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and several other draft-eligible Gators are also considering the NFL Draft. A decision on their status should be announced soon.
The younger brother of NFL safety Abe Elam, Matt Elam is a bruising hitter with the physical striking ability that will cause receivers to think twice before floating over the middle. Although he needs to tighten his coverage skills, he is a quick-footed athlete with the body flexibility and read/react skills to be effective against both the run and the pass. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/02/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: SS Matt Elam has maintained his hard-hitting reputation while improving his coverage skills. Elam has 65 tackles, including 10 for loss. He also has a team-high four interceptions. Muschamp said he's already had conversations with several top UF underclassmen who have a chance to leave for the NFL. "We'll handle that when the bowl game is over," he said. "That is not a conversation we are going to have every press conference before the bowl game."
Muschamp said he encourages underclassmen to submit paperwork to the NFL to determine where they might go in the draft. "Then I sit down with them and give them input I've gotten from NFL people," Muschamp said. "But some agent isn't going to give you the right information. I can assure you of that. We have a good process here just being really honest and open with our players. If a guy is going to be a first-round pick, I'm probably going to tell him to go to the NFL. That's just my policy. If he's not and he can improve himself, then I suggest he comes back."
Junior DT Sharrif Floyd and junior SS Matt Elam are projected as potential high NFL draft picks. - The Sports Xchange
01/01/2013 - "He's been as productive a safety as I've ever been around," said Gators coach Will Muschamp, who coached first-round NFL picks LaRon Landry at LSU and Earl Thomas at Texas. "Game in, game out he does a lot for us." Elam is second on the team with 65 tackles, including seven against LSU, and has 10 tackles for loss to give him 21 in two seasons as a starter. Elam also led the nation's leading in pass efficiency defense with four interceptions, including one at his team's 30 to set up the go-ahead touchdown at Tennessee and a pick on the Florida 12 on Florida State's opening possession in the Gators' 37-26 win last month. "He can wreck the game for you," Louisville offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said.
Elam also wrecks ballcarriers as he hurtles his 5-foot-10, 202-pound body fearlessly and ferociously in their direction. Elam, the younger brother of Abram Elam, a seven-year NFL veteran safety with the Kansas City Chiefs, is blessed with natural ability. But this past offseason, Elam worked harder than ever following a disappointing 7-6 season that included Muschamp labeling his team "soft." "He challenged me," Elam said. "I knew I had to step up."
Elam raised his game to a point where he is expected to forego his senior season and be a high pick in the NFL draft. "Elam is a freak of nature," Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said. "He's someone you have to have your eye at all times." - Edgar Thompson, The Orlando Sentinel
12/30/2012 - When Matt Elam finished one of the most impressive high school football careers in Palm Beach County's history, he dreamed of ripping through the SEC and quickly reaching the NFL. He is almost there. In three years at Florida, he developed into an All-America safety and a potential first-round draft pick. When the Gators take on Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night, there is a strong possibility it will be his final game. "I'm not answering questions about that right now," said Elam, a junior who came to UF from Dwyer High School. "I just do my job."
He led the Gators (11-1, third in the BCS standings) with four interceptions and was second in tackles at 65. In their signature win over LSU in October, he saved the game by chasing down receiver Odell Beckham on a 56-yard reception and stripping the ball from him. Plays like that make NFL teams covet him. They also like his 5-foot-10, 202-pound build (identical to that of Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas), his speed and his jarring hits. Elam has until the Jan. 15 deadline to decide whether he will enter the draft. He refused to speak publicly about it all year, and coach Will Muschamp will not address it until after the game against Louisville (10-2, No. 21 in the BCS).
Daniels, however, long expected him to turn pro at this point and now believes it is inevitable. "I think he's got his mind made up," he said. "He's gone. "He has the opportunity to be a high draft choice and make more in his signing bonus than most people make in 30 years. It'd be a bad business decision if he didn't. If somebody told you they'd pay you a million dollars, would you go back to school?" - Jason Lieser, The Palm Beach Post
12/16/2012 - 2012 WALTER CAMP ALL-AMERICA SECOND TEAM: DB Matt Elam, Florida, 5-10 202 Jr., Palm Beach Gardens, FL...Elam tied for 21st in the nation and third in the SEC in interceptions with four in 2012. His 65 total tackles ranks 41st in the country, as well. The junior has compiled 10.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, four pass breakups, and forced one fumble on the season. Elam was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press and coaches. - Florida football
12/16/2012 - 2012 AP ALL-AMERICAN FIRST TEAM: Safety - Matt Elam, junior, 5-10, 202, Florida...Elam tied for 21st in the nation and third in the SEC in interceptions with four in 2012. His 65 total tackles ranks 41st in the country, as well. The junior has compiled 10.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, four pass breakups, and forced one fumble on the season. Elam was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press and coaches. - Florida football
12/07/2012 - 2012 ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM (MEDIA): S - Matt Elam, Florida, Jr., has been selected First Team All-Southeastern Conference (Media selection) for the 2012 college football season. Elam has been credited with 10.0 TFL this season for a loss of 35 yards, a team-high four interceptions which ranks tied for 25th nationally, one forced fumble and five pass breakups. - Florida football
12/07/2012 - 2012 ALL-SEC FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DB - Matt Elam, Florida, has been selected First Team All-Southeastern Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season. Elam has been credited with 10.0 TFL this season for a loss of 35 yards, a team-high four interceptions which ranks tied for 25th nationally, one forced fumble and five pass breakups. - Florida football
11/26/2012 - WEEK 13 SEC OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: DB MATT ELAM (Florida) -- Had team-high seven tackles (all solos) with a sack and interception against Florida State. - SEC football
10/10/2012 - 10/10/12 NFL DRAFT SCOUT RISER: 4. Matt Elam, SS, Florida: Football is a brutal sport played by competitive athletes, but some prospects stand out as more violent and fierce than others, including Florida strong safety Matt Elam. He doesn't look like much and probably isn't really 5-10 and 202 pounds like it says on the roster, but he is the epitome of a player who plays bigger than he looks. A true junior, Elam plays on a defense filled with five-star high school recruits and future NFL talents, but he continues to stand out with his range and aggressiveness against both the run and pass. He showcased this against the Tigers with seven tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss and a forced fumble, flying all over the field on defense and special teams coverage. Elam uses excellent pad level on his tackle attempts, getting lower than the ballcarrier, and appears to enjoy contact, looking for the knock out hit and exploding through his target. He is a fluid athlete with excellent foot speed and the chase skills to catch the ballcarrier from behind, doing so on a long pass play against LSU -- chased down the receiver, wrestled him to the ground and knocked out the ball for a game-changing fumble. Elam is a high energy player with non-stop intensity on every snap, but needs to control that aggression at times, also collecting a costly late hit penalty against the Tigers. But it's hard not to appreciate the speed and force that he plays with and will soon bring to the NFL. While the senior class lacks a sure-fire top-50 safety prospect, Elam could emerge as the top player at the position. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
10/10/2012 - SEC: NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH - WEEK 6: Keep an eye on: S Matt Elam 5-11, 200, Florida: Why you should watch him? Elam is a play-making DB who can defend the pass and stop the run. He had a crucial play against LSU on Saturday. LSU WR Odell Beckham caught a 52-yard pass, but Elam was able to strip him as soon as he got full possession of the ball to negate the big play. Season stats (five games): 26 tackles, 3 TFLs, sack, INT, FF. Player ranking: Elam is ranked as the No. 136 prospect overall and is the fourth-best strong safety in CBSSports.com's latest player rankings. Up next: The Gators play at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Elam had five tackles and a pass deflection against the Commodores last season. - Daniel Lewis, CBSSports.com
10/08/2012 - Week 6 Rewind: The game-changing play Saturday at The Swamp was turned in by another underclassman, who quietly is earning favorable early grades from pro scouts -- Florida strong safety Matt Elam. While not as physically intimidating as his counterpart, the 5-10, 202 pound Elam had a team-best seven solo tackles, including a tackle for loss. In ripping the football away from LSU wideout Odell Beckham, Jr., he immediately extinguished the only big play (20-plus yards) the Tigers had on offense all day.With LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger surprisingly able to slip free from an aggressive Florida pass rush, Beckham slipped down the right sideline. Mettenberger hit him on a perfectly thrown 56-yard bomb. Trailing Beckham and showing the speed and understanding of pursuit angles NFL scouts looking for, Elam closed on and rather than just securing the tackle -- which was a feat in itself considering Beckham's speed and elusiveness -- he wrapped his arm around the Tiger ballcarrier, ripping the ball free and putting himself in position to recover the fumble. Beckham's catch would have given LSU its only third-down conversion of the game to that point (4:13 left in third quarter). They'd convert just one more in the game, never getting further than their own 45-yard line in the fourth quarter. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
10/08/2012 - WEEK 6 SEC CO-DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Matt Elam, Defensive Back, Florida: Elam's forced fumble late in the fourth quarter against LSU changed the momentum of the game and helped Florida to a 14-6 win over LSU...He also tallied a team-high seven solo tackles with one for a two-yard loss...The Gator defense held LSU to 33 consecutive snaps without a first down. - SEC football
09/04/2012 - SEC: PLAYERS WHOSE NFL DRAFT STOCK IS FALLING: Matt Elam, Florida: The junior S had his moments in Florida's 27-14 win over Bowling Green. He had two tackles and nearly blocked a punt. Still, the Gators needed more from the play-making junior as they struggled to pull away from Bowling Green in the second half. Coach Will Muschamp will be leaning on his defense as the offense continues to develop with new starting QB Jeff Driskel. You can see him next: Saturday at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). - Daniel Lewis, CBSSports.com
08/10/2012 - MOST IMPORTANT FLORIDA PLAYER: SS Matt Elam - The Gators are going to need to win with defense until sophomore quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett get comfortable. Elam projects to be one of the leaders on the UF defense, a hard-hitting junior safety with playmaking ability. It will be Elam's job to anchor the secondary and prevent big plays from happening to keep the Gators in games until the offense comes around. - The Sports Xchange
07/21/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM (COACHES): DB - Matt Elam, Florida, ... Elam completed last season as the leader in tackles-for-loss (11), pass breakups (seven), and forced fumbles (two). Bostic and Elam were two of five Gators to start all 13 games last season. - Florida football
07/21/2012 - 2012 PRESEASON ALL-SEC SECOND TEAM (MEDIA): DB Matt Elam (25), Florida, Jr., Junior Matt Elam (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) is a second-team defense pick at defensive back. He was one of five Gators to start in all 13 games last season and led the team in tackles for loss (11.0), pass breakups (seven), and forced fumbles (two). He also recorded 78 tackles in 2011. - Florida football
07/18/2012 - 2012 JIM THORPE AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Matt Elam, Florida S, Jr., has been selected to the Preseason Jim Thorpe Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season, presented to the best defensive back in college football by the Jim Thorpe Association. Elam, a 5-10, 210-pound junior, was one of five Gators to play in and start every game in 2011. He led the team in tackles for loss (11.0), pass breakups (seven), and forced fumbles (two). In addition, Elam finished ranked second on the team with 78 tackles last season. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. native joins fellow Gator Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, Pa.) on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, which is awarded to the nation's top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. A player of the week will be selected every week during the season and five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be announced on November 15. - Florida football
07/18/2012 - 2012 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Matt Elam, S, Florida, has been selected to the Preseason Bronko Nagurski Trophy Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented to the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America. Elam, a 5-10, 210-pound junior, was one of five Gators to play in and start every game in 2011. He led the team in tackles for loss (11.0), pass breakups (seven), and forced fumbles (two). In addition, Elam finished ranked second on the team with 78 tackles last season. The Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. native joins fellow Gator Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, Pa.) on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, which is awarded to the nation's top defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club. A player of the week will be selected every week during the season and five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy will be announced on November 15. - Florida football