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2013 Sugar Bowl: Florida's Matt Elam declares for NFL Draft

The strong safety for the No. 3 Gators will forego his senior season to enter April's draft.

Sam Greenwood

With a first-round grade from NFL scouts, it was an easy decision for Matt Elam to enter the NFL Draft. Florida's safety will forego his senior season to hear his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell come April. The decision comes just over two weeks before the Jan. 15 deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft.

In his second season as a starter for the Gators, Elam notched four interceptions and 65 tackles as a member of the nation's 3rd-ranked defense. The Gators allowed just 12.9 points per game, trailing only title contenders Alabama and Notre Dame.

Elam, a native of Palm Beach, Fla., has received first-round grades from both of CBS' college football analysts. In the initial mock draft, Rob Rang has Elam going 29th and Dane Brugler has him going 25th. Attending William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach, Elam played both sides of the ball before settling in at safety for Florida.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.