Redshirt freshman Marcus Maye (No. 20) has impressed coaches during fall camp.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- He was the student and Matt Elam and Josh Evans were the teachers.
Marcus Maye tried to absorb all he could in their classroom.
Maye redshirted due to a knee injury suffered playing basketball his senior season at Holy Trinity Episcopal School in Melbourne. Meanwhile, Elam and Evans formed one of the best safety combos in the country a year ago.
Elam was a first-round pick of the Ravens and Evans went to Jacksonville in the sixth round.
"I got to watch a lot. I got to learn a lot,'' Maye said. "I watched two great guys. I watched a great team defense, see how it's done."
Based on what others are saying during fall camp, Maye is an A student.
Florida coach Will Muschamp has tossed compliments toward Maye more than once since camp opened, and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin did the same Wednesday.
"He is a very productive player,'' Durkin said. "He's always around the ball. He's got a great skill-set for the position. That's a guy we would take over and over again at the safety position. He is long, he's rangy and he's physical."
Maye's strong camp has him in line to start at strong safety, a spot Elam manned last season as a first-team All-American.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Maye was highly coveted coming out of Holy Trinity. He chose the Gators over offers from Alabama, Auburn, FSU and LSU.
He is looking to step into the lineup and add his own unique flavor to the position the way Elam and Evans did. Maye, Cody Riggs, Jabari Gorman and Brian Poole have taken most of the reps at safety.
"Just always around the ball making plays,'' he said of his style. "Those two guys were great. Definitely big shoes to fill."
As a senior at Holy Trinity, Maye had four interceptions and recorded 45 tackles. He also played running back, racking up 712 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.
Durkin is confident Maye has the tools to succeed and help Florida fans overcome any concerns with the loss of Elam and Evans.
"He has done a great job of getting better and better with all the snaps he had this spring as well as this fall,'' Durkin said. "We're looking for a great year out of him. A lot falls on the safeties in our defense."