Gators capture top junior Matt Elam

Class of 2010 ESPNU 150 Watch List athlete Matt Elam of Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) has committed to Florida.

Matt Elam is a perfect example of Urban Meyer recruiting no matter the circumstances. When Meyer was an assistant coach at Notre Dame, he sat on the couch of the Elam household recruiting Matt’s older brother and current New York Jets safety, Abram Elam. But that wasn’t the only impression Meyer made on the 6-0, 205-pound 2010 Gator commitment.

“I remember Coach Meyer taught me the stance to get in as a wide receiver at the line,” Elam said. “I remember him waving me over to him, putting one leg back, and the other on the line of scrimmage. He showed me where to put my hands before the snap and everything.”

The then eight-year-old Elam was blown away. He remembers being star-struck, even though Meyer was a lesser known name on the national level at the time. The impression had already been made.

“After he showed me that, I remember saying ‘I want to play for him one day,’” Elam said.

It was around ten years before Meyer and Elam spoke again. That came as he attended the Florida camp this past June, as he came with a few of his Dwyer High School teammates. They got the full court press from the Florida staff, and Elam was yet again sold on the program Meyer was selling. Elam was in the stands for the Miami game earlier this season and again felt the same sense of welcome from Meyer.

“When I went to the camp and games, he still showed me a lot of love,” Elam said. “I feel the love from him and that’s important to me.”

Wednesday morning’s decision to commit wasn’t hard for Elam to decide on. Once the offer came through and he had the opportunity to commit to the Gators, he didn’t want to waste any time.

“I committed to Coach Meyer this morning,” Elam said. “I got the offer from the Gators faxed to me at the school this morning and I talked to Coach Meyer on the phone and told him I was committing. My plan this whole time was to commit when I got that Florida offer and that’s what happened.”

Maybe it was the realization that he would be coaching a player he made an impact on ten years ago, but the level of Meyer’s reaction to the commitment shocked Elam.

“He was so excited,” Elam said. “He was telling me about how he can’t wait to coach me and wants me to keep coming up to Gainesville.”

Elam calls “the atmosphere around the program and games” the biggest reason for his commitment. The fans screaming in the stands, particularly right behind where Elam sits with the recruits, didn’t come as a shock to him after watching the Gators play his entire life.

“If I could play there, all those fans yelling would give me a huge boost,” Elam said. “It’s like I have to play good. It’s like motivation to keep playing well out there.”

Elam hadn’t yet informed his mother of the decision to commit, but he is fully confident she will give her stamp of approval.

“I left her a voicemail at work, but she wasn’t at her desk,” Elam said. “I told her that I always wanted to be a Gator and Coach Meyer would be my college football coach. She loves him. It’s just the love he has for his players.”

Dwyer teammate and 2010 tight end Gerald Christian is another recruit the Gators are recruiting hard. They will benefit by now having Elam in his ear every day they hang out, and Elam feels good about his high school teammate joining him in Gainesville.

“I’m going to talk to him a lot more,” Elam said about recruiting his team’s tight end. “He told me that he thinks he’s coming to Gainesville with me for college.”

Elam did say he may take visits during his senior year, but it would be hard to imagine some with Elam’s love for the Gators playing his college football anywhere else.


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