Florida Gators juniors safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd officially declared for the 2013 NFL Draft on Wednesday while in the locker room following their team’s crushing loss to the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
According to media members on site at the game, both players said they had their minds made up while junior defensive end Dominique Easley and redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed each said they were undecided. Redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins is expected to remain with the team for his senior season.
Elam and Floyd will be the first Gators underclassmen to be selected by professional teams since Florida had five juniors go in the first 113 picks of the 2010 NFL Draft. Safety Will Hill left early in 2011 but went undrafted. Both players are potential first-round selections with Floyd the likeliest to go in the first 32 picks.
Second on the team in tackles with 76, Elam registered two sacks on the season and 11 total tackles for loss. He also had a team-high four interceptions and was easily the best playmaker in the Gators’ defensive backfield.
“It’s time to take care of the family,” Elam said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “[Playing in the NFL] was a dream. It was a goal. It’s a dream come true. … It’s been a great three years. I wish we could finish it better.”
Floyd, moved to his natural position on the interior of the defensive line, finished the campaign with 46 tackles including a team-high 13 for lost yardage. He also registered three sacks, six quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and two blocked kicks.
“This game made me focus on what I wanted to do,” Floyd said per the paper. “All my focus was on my team and on the season and on this game. Now it’s time to move. I got the blessings from my coaches. They felt it was best for me.”
OGGOA will update this story shortly.