College Football Rumors: Florida Safety to Declare for NFL Draft

By Patrick Schmidt
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida safety Matt Elam is expected to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL draft after leading the Gators defense that finished third in the nation in points per game.

Elam was easily one of the toughest men in college football this season and plays much bigger than his 5-10 200-pound body would lead you to believe.

He has great instincts and a knack for making big plays in critical situations as he did when he forced a game-changing fumble in the team’s win over LSU this season will have him high on many team’s draft boards.

Finishing the regular season with 65 tackles and four interceptions Elam had a big impact on the stat sheet, but his biggest impact on the team was felt much more than what the box score would indicate.

His leadership, great heart and intangibles are among the best qualities that are on display when you watch Elam fly around the football field.

He makes his teammates better and you can tell he loves playing the game of football and doesn’t take it for granted–a rarity nowadays–and you can see his teammates feed off his infectious attitude and spirit.

Florida finished the regular season as the No. 3 team in the nation and will play Louisville in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Jan 2 in New Orleans in what will be Elam’s last game as a Gator barring an unexpected turn of events.

Elam can be the first safety off the board in April’s draft, but will face competition from Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid from Texas and LSU, respectively, who all figure to be in the first round conversation.

The leading candidates to replace Elam in the secondary are Jaylen Watkins, Jabari Gorman, Valdez Showers and Brian Poole.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

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