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2012 Football Roster

Matt Elam


5' 10"
Palm Beach Gardens
202 lbs.
William T. Dwyer


Declared for the 2013 NFL Draft…Appeared in 39 games (26 starts at safety) in his Gator career, recording 176 tackles, 23.5 TFL, 13 pass breakups, six interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.



Started every game at safety for the Gators during the season…Finished the season second on the team with 76 tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 11.0 TFL…Led the team with four interceptions on the season to rank third in the SEC and had a forced fumble on the season…Was named First Team All-SEC (AP, Coaches), AP All-America First Team…Only the second safety in school history to be named First-team All-American by Associated Press (Reggie Nelson)…Sporting News All-America, All-America First Team, All-America First Team and Walter Camp All-America Second Team…Recorded a season-high 11 tackles, including 1.0 sack, In his final collegiate game against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl…Led the team with seven tackles against Florida State, and recorded his fourth interception of the season…Brought down an interception for the second game in a row and returned it a season-long 42 yards to set up the go-ahead touchdown against Missouri…Returned an interception 31 yards against Georgia…Selected a midseason, first-team All-American by Phil Steele, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and CBS Sports…Named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week after notching seven tackles in the win over LSU and forcing a game-changing fumble in the third quarter and added seven tackles, all solo…Recorded 10 tackles to lead the team and added his first interception of the season against Tennessee.



One of five Gators to play in and start all 13 games in 2011…Finished the season as the team leader in TFL (11.0), pass breakups (seven) and forced fumbles (two)…Ranked second on the team with 78 tackles…Made six tackles, including two for loss, and a sack in UF’s Gator Bowl win over Ohio State…Forced a fumble and registered eight tackles vs. Florida State…Registered his second-career sack at South Carolina…Had three TFL against Vanderbilt…Recorded an interception at Kentucky and vs. Tennessee…Forced a fumble against UAB…Made his first-career start against FAU, making four tackles.



One of six true freshmen to play in all 13 games…A starter on kickoff coverage and kickoff returns all season…Recorded 22 tackles on the season, 16 of which were solo, and two TFL…One of the first defensive backs off the bench all season, playing primarily in the nickel spot…Registered three tackles in the home victory over Appalachian State…Tallied three tackles and a pass breakup in the win at Vanderbilt…Registered a quarterback hurry vs. LSU, which led to an interception by Jelani Jenkins…Recorded his first-career sack on the road at Alabama…Registered four tackles in the victory vs. Kentucky…Recorded the team’s only fumble recovery in the win against Tennessee…Collected four tackles, while starting on the punt return squad, kick return squad, kickoff coverage team and field goal coverage team in the season opener against Miami University…Graded as a special mention Champion vs. Miami University.



A five-star prospect rated the No. 1 safety and the No. 10 overall prospect in the nation according to…Played in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl…Selected the Gatorade Player of the Year and named Mr. Football for the state of Florida in 2009…Selected to the 2009 EA Sports All-America first team as an all-purpose player…Named a 2010 Parade High School All-American and No. 12 on the Top 150 Dream Team by PrepStar Magazine…Rushed for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns as a senior, including 918 yards and 13 touchdowns as he led Dwyer to a 14-1 record and the 4A State Title…Rushed for 187 yards and four touchdowns in the 2009 state title game against Niceville…Selected the Palm Beach County Player of the Year in 2008 and was an FSWA first-team all-state selection…Racked up over 200 tackles, including 38 TFL and 15 sacks in his final two years at Dwyer…Also rushed for 435 yards with four touchdowns and had 758 receiving yards with nine touchdowns as a junior…Chose Florida over Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee and West Virginia…Coached by Jack Daniels, a UF alum.



Tackles: 12 (LSU, 2011)

QB Sacks: 1 (5x, last Louisville, 2012)

Forced Fumbles: 1 (3x, last LSU, 2012)

Fumble Recovery: 1 (Tennessee, 2010)

Interceptions: 1 (6x, last Florida State, 2012)

















































What they’re saying…

 “No Gators defender has made more big plays or big hits this season. Elam has the size (5-10, 202), speed and instincts to play close to the line, tackle in space, blitz or drop into coverage. His skill set was on full display in Florida's 14-6 win Oct. 6 against LSU. Elam had seven solo tackles (one for loss), a pass break-up and chased down a receiver 50 yards downfield to force a fumble deep in Florida territory.” (11/15/12)
Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel


“He just always seems to be in the right spot when the Gators need a big play on defense.” (11/7/12)
Daniel Lewis,


“Elam is the tone-setter for the Gators defense, with his hard-hitting style and heads-up play.” (11/5/12)
Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel


“Second-year coach Will Muschamp wanted the Gators to be a more physical, hard-hitting team this season, and Elam set the tone for one of the country's most-improved defenses. Elam, a junior from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., has emerged as one of the country's biggest hitters, with 33 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack, one interception and two pass breakups. He had seven tackles and forced a game-changing fumble in the third quarter of the Gators' 14-6 upset of then-No. 4 LSU on Oct. 6.” (10/18/12)
Mark Schlabach,


“He can do it all for the Gators and isn't afraid to get very physical with just about everyone on the field. Elam can change the game with one play, like he showed with that forced fumble against LSU.” (10/18/12)
Edward Aschoff,


“His forced fumble against LSU turned that game around, a play that was vintage Elam. He’s second on Florida’s team in tackles and playing the best football of his career.” (10/18/12)
Chris Low,


“He just flies around the field to make plays. He can drop back or sprint into the box to bother running backs and quarterbacks. He can change a game with a single play, like he did with that timely fumble force against LSU. He also has 33 tackles, including three for loss and a sack, and an interception.” (10/17/12)
Edward Aschoff,


“Matt Elam, he brings a different type of energy to the defense. When he’s up and he’s going, everybody plays around him.” (10/12/12)
Jaylen Watkins, UF cornerback


(On Elam’s performance against LSU): “That guy even motivated me on certain plays. He was just relentless out there today, coming down, not stopping his feet, running through guys. It was pretty much laying the wood on a lot of people.” (10/7/12)
Josh Evans, UF safety


“I’ve played with and against some of the most talented players in the league and growing up, and I can say Matt is one of only two people I know besides Anquan Boldin that hates to lose as much as he does. He does everything in his power to win. He is very competitive. A lot of people don’t know that about him. He hates to lose more than anything.” (8/27/12)
Abram Elam, Matt’s brother and Kansas City Chiefs safety


“He is what everyone is looking for now in a safety. He can move down and cover the front, cover receivers, he can play the deep part of the field, and he’s very aggressive and is a great tackler.” (8/27/12)
Abram Elam, Matt’s brother and Kansas City Chiefs safety


“He’s matured. Matt has changed his body in the offseason just from totally dedicating himself from the weight room to other areas. There were times when it was not prescribed workout times and he’s down there working out.” (8/27/12)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach


“There aren't many holes in Elam's game. He's physical enough to rush the passer and support in run defense. He's rangy enough to prevent the deep ball.” (8/21/12)

Daniel Lewis,


“He's the heart of the Gators' defense and can make plays all over the field.” (8/6/12)

Edward Aschoff,


“Florida returns a wealth of talent on defense, but having Elam's experience and skills on the back end, not to mention his leadership, could be what takes this defense to another level in 2012.” (7/31/12)

Chris Low and Edward Aschoff,


“Safety Matt Elam is the best of the bunch and should challenge to be the league's top safety this year.” (7/18/12)

Edward Aschoff and Chris Low,


“He communicates very well. He’s not a very vocal player. When I came in here, from the standpoint of communicating, we were more worried about getting him lined up and with what he’s doing. I think that he has a better understanding of what we’re doing schematically to understand what the other safety needs to do or what the nickel needs to do. He has very good play making skills and ability – he has natural instincts and play-making skills as a football player.” (11/7/11)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach


“A lot of the time, he sees a play before it happens. He anticipates the route breaking off, where the runner is going to break and where the ball is going. All of those concepts he gets, he understands, where as some other guys it takes a few more repetitions to do that. He’s a guy that has played safety for us, and has played nickel for us. Each week, we put him in situations where we feel he can affect the game the best. He has played consistently well all year. That is what we expect of him, and what he expects of himself. He’s a competitive young man.” (11/7/11)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach


“I think Matt Elam is having a solid year. As we basically hit the halfway point, I think he’s playing very productive for us. We moved him into the nickel position for Auburn. I saw a lot of the perimeter runs where they were very effective, and we felt like we needed to put him into a point of attack in the game, and he was certainly very effective.  (10/18/11)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach


“Matt makes the call for us in the back end, so you have to have a guy that you can go to ask how things are going. That person for us is Matt Elam. He has a good feel for where we are. He loves playing at Florida. To me, he’s a guy that is going to continue to progress as a player and leader. He’s made tremendous strides to this point.” (9/17/11)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach


“I thought he was really solid. He played hard. Not a whole lot got to him in the run or pass game. He didn’t necessarily have the big production points that he’s displayed throughout camp, but he played a solid football game. I’m very pleased with where he’s at right now.” (9/5/11)

Will Muschamp, UF Head Coach, after the FAU game


“Matt’s style of play is exactly what we want. He gets out there and is just explosive.” (9/3/11)

Xavier Nixon, UF tackle


“It was a very difficult role because I wasn’t used to that. Every day I try to get better at it, so I’m getting better at it every day. I was always a quiet guy, but it’s something I have to grow out of. I really don’t have a choice. I better get comfortable with it because we’re young in the secondary and a lot of guys look up to me. I have to abide by the rules and do my job.” (8/31/11)

Matt Elam, UF safety


“My opinion — this is my opinion: I think he’s the best thing out there [on the defense]. He works hard at everything. He’s relentless every play. He doesn’t take off one snap.” (8/25/11)

Dominique Easley, UF defensive tackle


“Matt has taken a great, great approach. He’s approaching (replacing Black) like a guy who just wants to take care of business, and he’s having a great camp so far.” (8/9/11)

Josh Shaw, former UF safety


“His breakout year is this year. What makes Matt good is he’s a big guy, a real big stud. He loves to hit, loves to cover a little bit. That makes him special.” (8/9/11)

Josh Evans, UF safety


“As far as my role, I have to be more of a leader this year than I was last year. I'm more involved now. I'm just going to go out and play football. There are a lot of things I need to work on just being a leader. I’m not used to being vocal and everything like that. I might have to take on that role and start doing that, being more vocal and being more of a leader, because I’m not used to that." (3/29/11)

Matt Elam, UF safety


"Matt Elam played a lot for a freshman and he's being a leader on the field, off the field and vocally on the field. And that's something that guys need to see.” (1/1/11)

Brandon Hicks, former UF and current NFL linebacker


“Matt Elam is one of those defenders who seems to be a potential game changer. He’s physical, instinctive and plays with the kind of confidence you usually don’t see this early from a true freshman.” (8/21/10)

Robbie Andreu, Gainesville Sun


“Matt Elam is a baller. He’s fast, strong, and most of important of all, he’s very instinctive. If he stays on his current path, he’s going to be a star — and very soon.” (4/1/10)

Robbie Andreu, Gainesville Sun


“His work ethic from sophomore to junior and senior year has been great. Matt's one you don't have to hit over the head to get him to do his homework or anything. He's a top scholar. He helps my family with my nieces and nephews, and he's becoming more responsible. I think he's still maturing, but it's been more evident the last year or two.”

Abram Elam, Matt’s brother and Kansas City Chiefs safety


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