Matt Elam, a safety at Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., today committed to play for Florida.
Elam, who originally committed to Florida but changed his mind in favor of Florida State when Gators coach Urban Meyer decided to take a leave of absence, confirmed that Florida will be his destination at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. He chose Florida over Florida State and Georgia.
This season, Elam, ranked in the top 5 nationally be virtually every recruiting service, became the first player to win the Lou Groza Award as Florida’s best player twice. His brother, Abram Elam, a starting safety for the Cleveland Browns, won the award in 1999 while playing for Cardinal Newman. Matt Elam also was named Gatorade Player of the Year for the state. He rushed for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns and posted 61 tackles at linebacker while leading Dwyer to its first state championship this season.
"He’s been doing a lot of thinking lately and he told me he would be most comfortable in The Swamp," Abe Elam said. "He’s got the opportunity to go to one of the elite teams in college football and compete for playing time right away. He feels comfortable that whether Coach Meyer stays there or not, Florida is the right school for him."
Elam committed to Florida as a junior in October 2008, mostly because of his long-standing relationship with Coach Meyer, who coached Abram Elam at Notre Dame. Meyer announced his resignation Dec. 26, but backtracked the next day and said he planned to coach Florida this fall.
Elam had a heartfelt phone conversation with Meyer last Monday and said they reconciled some issues, and apparently it was enough to convince Elam to play for the Gators.
Elam has completed the required credits to graduate from Dwyer High a semester early and will start classes at Florida on Monday. Link
In the end, he had known coach Meyer since he was a little kid, his brother played for Meyer, his mother was very vocal about wanting her son at UF, UF is a much better program right now, his coach is a former UF player and wanted Elam there, and Elam's two teammates are UF commitments as well. When a kid is 18 years old, and all of his influences pull him one way, it's awful tough to pull him in the other direction.