Report: Florida Gators stars Matt Elam and Sharrif Floyd set to enter 2013 NFL Draft

Florida Gators defensive back Matt Elam (22) celebrates a defensive play after losing his helmet against the LSU Tigers during the fourth quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

According to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post, two young men that have largely been expected to leave early for the NFL Draft are now set to do so.

Safety Matt Elam and defensive end Sharrif Floyd are both star juniors on the Gators’ No. 3-nationally ranked defense, and both are expected to leave for the NFL following the team’s appearance in the BCS Sugar Bowl.

Elam was named the team’s defensive MVP at the Gators’ annual awards banquet recently and the honor was well deserved. His teammates recognized his leadership abilities and his play on the field, and so did the Associated Press. Elam earned First Team All-America honors from the AP, becoming the first Florida star to do so since Chas Henry earned the recognition in 2010.

On the year, Elam proved to be a force in stopping both the run and passing games. The junior collected 65 total tackles while totaling a massive 10 tackles for a loss. He also intercepted four passes while breaking up five passes and forcing a fumble.

Floyd was no less impressive in earning All-American third team honors. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Philadelphia native tallied 41 total tackles, with 11.0 of them for a loss. He also recorded a sack and a blocked kick.

While the Gators will be losing Elam and Floyd, the program has gotten some good news from two other juniors potentially headed to the Draft.

Two sources told the paper that “[junior defensive end] Dominique Easley and [redshirt junior Will linebacker] Jelani Jenkinsare coming back for their senior seasons.”

Elam’s older brother, Abram, is a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, and according to Only Gators Get Out Alive, Abram’s tutelage has been a big factor in little brother’s decision-making. Basically, the elder Elam has instructed his younger brother to only try to make the jump to the NFL if he is going to be a first round draft pick.

A Florida junior has not been selected in the draft since a number of players were in 2010. Cornerback Joe Haden, center Maurkice Pouncey, DE Carlos Dunlap, S Major Wright and TE Aaron Hernandez were all chosen in the first 113 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft. Safety Will Hill left early but was undrafted in 2011.

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