Throughout the course of his college career, Matt Elam proved to be one of the best safeties to ever step onto the field of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in a Florida Gators uniform. After electing to forgo his senior season at the University of Florida, Elam declared for the 2013 NFL Draft where he was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the 32nd pick of the 1st round.
After working his way onto the Florida's depth chart as a starter his sophomore season in 2011 Elam separated himself from the pack with both his tremendous playing ability (78 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 7 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions) and his larger-than-life personality; leaving the college football world wondering what he had in store for 2012.
Following his outstanding sophomore season in 2011, Elam was named as one of Florida's team captains heading into his junior season. Building off of his successful sophomore season, Elam again demonstrated his ability in 2012 with 76 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 5 pass deflections, and a team-leading 4 interceptions. Through Elam's strong play and leadership, Florida's defense finished 2012 allowing just 14.5 points and 287.5 yards per game (both rankings being the 5th best in the nation) while sporting a 95.6 pass efficiency (2nd in the nation).
Elam's sensational 2012 season came en route to earning both first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American honors; becoming just the second Florida Gator safety to be named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press, The Sporting News, CBS Sports, Scout.com, and Sports Illustrated (the only other being current Cincinnati Bengals safety, Reggie Nelson, who was a consensus first-team All-American selection following Florida's national championship run in 2006). Elam also was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik (best defensive collegiate player) and Jim Thorpe (top collegiate defensive back) awards.
While Elam may not be the biggest guy in the world (standing just 5-foot-10, 210 pounds), the Ravens can rest assured knowing they drafted a tough, high-energy, defender with tremendous ball skills.
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