*Matt Elam       DB       Florida   A good athlete and emotional football player who plays with a chip on his shoulder, not to mention unflappable confidence. Is extremely passionate with a ton of desire each and every time he steps on the field. Elam is competitive, tough and “flashed nasty.” A versatile safety, he can align deep in the back end with good speed in range or around the box; lateral movement and production are very impactful. Has a compact and muscled-up frame, plus good foot quickness with slight, upright peddle; can stick foot in ground to COD (change of direction) with short-area burst. Elam is a slobber-knocker of a tackler who accelerates through contact, to say nothing of his very good collision and explosion. Slings, grabs or tosses with wrap and finish; can and will lower the boom on running backs or receivers. Has very intense, occasionally reckless temperament in chase and pursuit. Plays downhill right now, with no wasted motion. Good zone coverage skills deep with range and speed to close on ball and receiver. Has solid man cover skills vs. tight ends and covers slot receivers well; size doesn’t make him a liability in man coverage. Has soft hands and is very instinctive in tight and open space. A few teams are digging into his off-field issues, but the majority of clubs don’t see them as a major concern.  Softli – First-round talent, mid-late first-round pick.

 

MATT ELAM

Strong/Free Safety

University of Florida Gators

#22

5:09.7-208

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

William T. Dwyer High School

 

OVERVIEW

Elam is the perfect fit for what the NFL is looking for in the new era of versatile safeties, as he hits like a linebacker and covers receivers like a cornerback. What Elam does best though, is strike with tremendous force. He shows classic wrap-up tackling technique, staying low in his pads with a wide leg base to stalk and secure.

 

You can see the way he moves around the field that he can plant and drive instantly to break out his backpedal, using his long legs to stay stride-for-stride with receivers in the deep zone. While he is one of the youngest defensive backs in the 2013 draft class, he possesses discipline in man coverage and does not waste time peeking in at the quarter- back.

 

With his recent 4.54-second clocking in the 40-yard dash, Elam has more than enough foot speed to challenge any receiver on deep routes and loves to battle his pass coverage assignment going up for the ball and timing his leaps properly to get to the pigskin at its high point. In press coverage, he does a very good job of getting his hands on his opponent, using a strong jolt to knock the receiver off stride.

 

When playing inside the box, Elam does a quick job in recognizing and reacting with force when asked to help in run support. With his natural hands, he has also displayed a knack for making the big interception that will change the complexion of the game, as all six of his career pass thefts have led to Florida scoring drives.

 

His hard work ethic must be a family trait, as he takes the same approach to the game as his older brother, Abram has done during his NFL playing days with the Dallas Cowboys (2006, and again in 2011), New York Jets (2007-2008), Cleveland Browns (2009-2010) and Kansas City Chiefs (2012). Unlike his older brother, who went undrafted in 2005 after graduating from Kent State, “little brother” is expected to be one of the first safeties selected in the early rounds of the 2013 draft.

 

Elam has always excelled at whatever task the coaches give him. During his playing days at William T. Dwyer High School, he played on both sides of the ball as a safety and tail-back. He was a definite crowd pleaser, as Scout.com described him as a player who “is fun to watch.” His coaches called him an extremely versatile who appeared to relish taking on more and more responsibility.

 

As a running back, Elam proved to be a very effective ball carrier, as he demonstrated the patience to let the play develop and the extra gear necessary to exploit creases and cut-back lanes. Defensively, Elam played downhill and was a true contact seeker that was always in position to make plays and finish well. As a freshman and sophomore, he combined for eight interceptions and over 100 tackles.

 

During his final two seasons, Elam racked up over 200 tackles, including 38 behind the line of scrimmage, along with producing fifteen sacks. In 2008, he also rushed for 435 yards with four touchdowns and had 758 receiving yards with nine touchdowns as a junior. The following season, he rushed for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns, including thirteen scores in the postseason, as he led Dwyer to a 14-1 record and the Class 4A state title. In the championship game, he amassed 187 yards and four touchdowns on the ground vs. Niceville.

 

That explosive senior season earned Elam a five-star prospect rating, as he was also regarded as the nation’s top safety and tenth-best overall prospect, according to Scout.com. He was selected to the 2009 EA Sports and Parade All-American teams as an all-purpose player and named the Palm Beach County Player of the Year, along with receiving first-team All-State honors.

 

Elam received Gatorade Player of the Year honors and was named Mr. Football for the state of Florida in 2009. He closed out his prep career by playing in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He decided to attend the University of Florida, choosing the school over offers from Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee and West Virginia.

 

Elam first played for coach Urban Meyer, who brought the freshman along slowly, grooming him to take over for strong safety Ahmad Black the following season. He made 22 tackles with a sack and also recovered a fumble in thirteen games as a reserve.

 

With Meyer having resigned, Will Muschamp became the Florida Gators’ head coach and immediately inserted Elam into the lineup at strong safety. The sophomore rewarded his coach by finishing second on the team with 78 tackles that included two sacks and an impressive eleven stops behind the line of scrimmage, despite standing 5:11 and weighing 206 pounds. He also broke up seven passes and intercepted two others.

 

Entering his junior season, Elam was determined to prove that even though he did not have linebacker-like size to perform at strong safety, he had the ability to make electrifying plays all over the field. His emotional leadership and performance on the field in 2012 saw the Gators rank fifth in the nation in total defense (287.46 ypg) and scoring defense (14.46 ppg).

 

In an almost repeat performance from his sophomore season, Elam delivered 76 tackles with two sacks and eleven stops-for-loss in 2012. He knocked down five passes and picked off four others, becoming just the second safety in school history to earn All-American first-team honors from the Associated Press. It would be the safety’s last season as a Gator, though.

 

Shortly after Florida lost to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl, Elam announced that he was leaving school and would enter the 2013 NFL Draft. “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.”

 

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MATT ELAM

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 vs. 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.”…Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel

“He just always seems to be in the right spot when the Gators need a big play on defense.”…Daniel Lewis, CBSSports.com

“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.” Mark Schlabach, ESPN.com

“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 vs. LSU. He also has 33 tackles, including three for loss and a sack, and an interception.”…Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com

“I’ve played with and vs. 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.”…Abram Elam, Matt’s brother and Kansas City Chiefs safety

 

CAREER NOTES

Elam played in 39 games at Florida, starting his final 26 contests at strong safety, where he recorded 176 tackles (124 solos) with five sacks for minus 20 yards and 24.0 stops for losses of 73 yards…Registered a pair of quarterback pressures, as he caused two fumbles and recovered another…Gained 91 yards on six interception returns and deflected thirteen other tosses…Also carried once, for a 5-yard gain vs. Tennessee in 2012.

 

2012 SEASON

Elam became only the second safety in school history to be named All-American first-team by the Associated Press, joining Reggie Nelson (2006)…Added first-team All-American

Honors from The NFL Draft Report, Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, receiving second-team accolades from the Walter Camp Foundation…Unanimous All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection…Started all thirteen games at strong safety, finishing second on the team for the second consecutive season with 76 tackles (58 solos), as he posted two sacks for minus 12 yards and eleven stops for losses totaling 37 yards…Deflected five passes and intercepted four others that he ran back for 73 yards… Recorded a season-high 11 tackles, including a sack, In his final collegiate game vs. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl…Led the team with seven tackles vs. 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 vs. Missouri…Returned an interception 31 yards vs. Georgia…Named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week after notching seven tackles in the win over Louisiana State and forcing a game-changing fumble in the third quarter and added seven tackles, all solo…Posted 10 tackles to lead the team and added his first interception of the season vs. Tennessee.

 

2011 SEASON

A Sophomore All-American and All-Southeastern first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, Elam took over strong safety duties, starting thirteen contests and leading a unit that ranked seventh in the nation in pass defense (166.85 ypg) and eighth in total defense (299.54 ypg)…Ranked second on the team with 78 tackles (50 solos) that included two sacks…With eleven tackles for losses totaling 33 yards, he became the first defensive back to ever lead the Gators in that category…Caused two fumbles and deflected seven passes, as he also gained 18 yards on two interceptions…Made six tackles, including two for loss, and a sack in UF’s Gator Bowl win over Ohio State…Forced a fumble and was in on eight tackles vs. Florida State…Recorded his second-career sack at South Carolina and made three tackles behind the line of scrimmage vs. Vanderbilt…Added an interception in each of the Kentucky and Tennessee contests…Forced a fumble and collected seven tackles (6 solos) vs. Alabama-Birmingham.

 

 

 

 

 

2010 SEASON

Elam spent the bulk of his freshman season playing behind Ahmad Black at strong safety, but he was the unquestioned leader on the kickoff coverage and kickoff return units all season…Recorded 22 tackles, 16 of which were solo, and had two stops behind the line of scrimmage, including one sack…Recovered one fumble and deflected a pass…Was one of the first defensive backs off the bench, playing primarily in the nickel package…Posted 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…Had the team’s only fumble recovery in the win vs. 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 vs. Miami University…Graded as a special mention Champion vs. Miami University.

 

INJURY REPORT

No major injuries reported.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.54 in the 40-yard dash…1.58 10-yard dash…2.53 20-yard dash…4.01 20-yard shuttle…

10.88 60-yard shuttle…6.87 three-cone drill…35 ½-inch vertical jump…9’10” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times…32 5/8-inch arm length…9-inch hands…75 ¾-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Elam attended William T. Dwyer (West Palm Beach, Fla.) High School, played on both sides of the ball as a safety and tailback for head coach Jack Daniels…As a freshman and sophomore, he combined for eight interceptions and over 100 tackles…During his final two seasons, Elam racked up over 200 tackles, including 38 behind the line of scrimmage, along with producing fifteen sacks…In 2008, he also rushed for 435 yards with four touch-downs and had 758 receiving yards with nine touchdowns as a junior…The next season, he rushed for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns, including thirteen scores in the post-season, as he led Dwyer to a 14-1 record and the Class 4A state title…In the championship game, he amassed 187 yards and four touchdowns on the ground vs. Niceville…Received

a five-star prospect rating, as he was also regarded as the nation’s top safety and tenth-best overall prospect, according to Scout.com…Selected to the 2009 EA Sports and Parade All-American teams as an all-purpose player…Named the Palm Beach County Player of the Year, along with receiving first-team All-State honors…Garnered Gatorade Player of the Year honors and was named Mr. Football for the state of Florida in 2009…

Closed out his prep career by playing in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

 

PERSONAL

Sociology major…Older brother, Abram played college football at Kent State, where the safety graduated in 2005. Abram has played in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys (2006, and again in 2011), New York Jets (2007-2008), Cleveland Browns (2009-2010) and Kansas City Chiefs (2012)….Born 9/21/91…Resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2010 13 00 022 016 006  01  00  00 02.0-03   01  1.0-01    01
2011 13 13 078 050 028  00  02  02 11.0-33   07  2.0-07    01
2012 13 13 076 058 018  00  00  04 11.0-37   05  2.0-12    00
TOTAL 39 26 176 124 052  01  02  06 24.0-73   13  5.0-20    02

 

INTERCEPTION RETURNS RUSHING STATISTICS
STATS NO YARDS AVG TD LONG NO YARDS AVG TD LONG
2011  02        18 09.00  00    18  00        00 00.00  00    00
2012  04        73 18.25  00    42  01        05 05.00  00    05
TOTAL  06        91 15.17  00    42  01        05 05.00  00    05

 

ELAM GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Punt Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Bowling Green 09/01/12 BGSU 27-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 09/08/12 at TAMU 20-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

1

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

0

Tennessee 09/15/12 at Tennessee 37-20

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

3

7

0

1

10

0

1

10

1

0

0

Kentucky 09/22/12 Kentucky 38-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU 10/06/12 LSU 14-6

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

Vanderbilt 10/13/12 at Vanderbilt 31-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Carolina 10/20/12 South Carolina 44-11

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

5

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia 10/27/12 Georgia 9-17

Yes

1

31

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Missouri 11/03/12 Missouri 14-7

Yes

1

42

0

0

0

0

1

5

0

2

8

0

0

0

1

0

0

La.-Lafayette 11/10/12 ULL 27-20

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

4

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

Jacksonville St. 11/17/12 JSU 23-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

4

0

2

4

0

0

0

1

0

0

Florida St. 11/24/12 at FSU 37-26

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

7

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Louisville 01/02/13 Louisville 23-33

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

9

0

1

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

Season Totals

4

73

0

0

0

0

18

58

0

11

37

0

2

12

5

1

0

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Punt Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Fla. Atlantic 09/03/11 Fla. Atlantic 41-3

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UAB 09/10/11 UAB 39-0

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Tennessee 09/17/11 Tennessee 33-23

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Kentucky 09/24/11 at Kentucky 48-10

Yes

1

18

0

0

0

0

2

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

Alabama 10/01/11 Alabama 10-38

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

LSU 10/08/11 at LSU 11-41

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

9

3

1

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

Auburn 10/15/11 at Auburn 6-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

3

0

2

10

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia 10/29/11 Georgia 20-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Vanderbilt 11/05/11 Vanderbilt 26-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

2

2

2

9

0

0

0

1

0

1

South Carolina 11/12/11 at South Carolina 12-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

7

0

1

5

0

1

5

0

0

0

Furman 11/19/11 Furman 54-32

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida St. 11/26/11 Florida St. 7-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

6

1

0

2

0

0

0

2

1

0

Ohio St. 01/02/12 Ohio St. 24-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

6

0

2

3

0

1

2

0

0

0

Season Totals

2

18

0

0

0

0

28

50

4

9

33

0

2

7

7

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Punt Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

No

Yds

TD

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Miami (OH) 09/04/10 Miami (OH) 34-12

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

0

1

3

1

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

South Fla. 09/11/10 South Fla. 38-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tennessee 09/18/10 at Tennessee 31-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kentucky 09/25/10 Kentucky 48-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Alabama 10/02/10 at Alabama 6-31

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

3

0

1

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

LSU 10/09/10 LSU 29-33

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Mississippi St. 10/16/10 MSU 7-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia 10/30/10 Georgia 34-31

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Vanderbilt 11/06/10 at Vanderbilt 55-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

South Carolina 11/13/10 South Carolina 14-36

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Appalachian St. 11/20/10 APSU 48-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Florida St. 11/27/10 at Florida St. 7-31

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Penn St. 01/01/11 Penn St. 37-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

0

0

0

1

0

0

6

16

1

1

3

0

1

1

1

0

1

 

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of the NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com & Tony Softli Draft Board; Distributed by Scouting Services, Inc. © Copyright 2012/13 – All Rights Reserved; Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Scouting Services Inc. is strictly prohibited.