Elam, Floyd declare for NFL draft

NEW ORLEANS — Not only did Florida lose the game but it also lost at least two juniors.

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and safety Matt Elam announced their intentions to declare for the 2013 NFL Draft shortly after Wednesday’s 33-23 loss against Louisville in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Neither have submitted the official paperwork, but it doesn’t sound like they’re going to change their minds before the Jan. 15 deadline.

Three other juniors — tight end Jordan Reed, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and defense end Dominque Easley — say they’re undecided on their intentions.

“I played my butt off and it’s my dream to play in the NFL,” Elam said. “Most of all, now it’s time for me to take care of my family, if you know what I’m saying.”

Elam said he has submitted paperwork — as most draft-eligible, third-year players do before actually declaring — through Florida to the NFL College Advisory Committee “about two weeks ago,” but he hasn’t received a return evaluation as far as where his draft stock may be.

Interestingly enough, Elam hadn’t told his brother, Abe Elam, about his intentions to declare, although they’ve “had talks about it.” Elam had several hard hits in Wednesday’s game and finished with a team-high 11 tackles, including nine solo stops and one for a loss.

Still, Elam said there’s plenty he needs to improve before the NFL Combine.

“My man coverage, I need to work on that a little bit,” Elam said. “And my 40 time, I don’t know what it is right now, but it’s got to get better before then.

Like Elam, Floyd hasn’t received his projection back from the NFL College Advisory Committee.

“The fact that my coaches gave me their blessing,” Floyd said. “They said, ‘Go. you’re ready — Good luck to you.’

“If I didn’t get that from them, I wouldn’t be leaving. I care about what my coaches think and how they feel about me. But I’m moving on now. ‘’

Floyd, who had five tackles, including two sacks, and a blocked kick, alled it “fulfilling a dream” to play in the NFL and said the “season I had” weighed heavily into his decision to leave early.

“I hadn’t got any feedback yet, but hopefully I can get that back and see what it’s looking like,” Floyd said. “I’ve just got to keep working and give myself a chance to be up there.”

Reed said he’s “50-50” as far as if he’ll decide to skip his senior season to enter the draft while Easley and Reed are still weighing their options.

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Mike Capshaw brings a wealth of experience to the Gator Country team. He’s been overseeing all editorial aspects of GatorCountry.com and Gator Country magazine by managing our team of staffers, interns and freelancers. He is now moving into a bigger role as a reporter by covering the football and basketball beats as well as providing coverage of all sports on campus. Mike’s 15 years in the business has included more than six years of covering SEC sports and recruiting at a daily newspaper in Arkansas. He has also helped launch a newspaper, magazines, websites and even a sports talk radio show. Because Mike puts family ahead of his career, he left the place where he was established when his wife received an opportunity to further her career at UF. He took a leap of faith that he could find a job in the Gainesville area and worked for a year at a newspaper group before joining the Gator Country family in November, 2011. Mike has won Florida Press Association awards for Best Sports Game Story and Best Sports Feature Story in the past two years as well as a company-wide award at his former newspaper group that includes some 60 publications, for Excellence in Sports Reporting. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeCapshawGC.