- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida safety Matt Elam was every bit the player he was supposed to be in 2001.
After playing more than any other freshman on the roster in 2010, UF's coaching staff was hoping Elam would step into Ahmad Black's role as the secondary's leader and difference-maker. The sophomore didn't disappoint, finishing second on the team in tackles (72) and adding one sack, two interceptions and a team-high seven pass-breakups.
Elam quickly became the leader of a relatively in experienced and young secondary. Though he is a sophomore, he was the most experienced player on the field most of the time. True freshmen Marcus Roberson and De'Ante Saunders started at cornerback and safety, respectively, and sophomores Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins also started at cornerback.