As we wrap up the year, decade, and Florida Gators' 2019 season, it's time to also wrap up our series on the top three Florida Gators at each position during the 2010s.
Sorry, we won't be doing a post on specialists... but the final post will be on a position of strength for Florida over most of the decade - the safety unit. Much like the cornerbacks, there was too much talent at the safety to combine both positions into one defensive backs top three list.
With that being said, who made the cut?
3. Marcus Maye (2012-16)
Coming in at number three is Countdown County product Marcus Maye. He redshirted his first year at Florida, but played eight games in 2013, splitting time with Jabari Gorman.
Maye started to break out in 2014, as he racked up 62 tackles and one interception. In his junior season, Maye totaled 77 tackles and added another two interceptions. Maye earned many awards following his junior season, and was named First Team All-American by USA Today and PFF.
The Brevard County product came back for his senior season, but only played in nine games. He declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was selected in the second round by the Jets, who he still plays for today. Maye also plays with Former Florida safety Brian Poole in New York.
2. Keanu Neal (2013-16)
Current Atlanta Falcon Keanu Neal was one of Florida’s best safeties in recent memory.
Neal’s first year at Florida was nothing to write home about, but he contributed and played in all 12 games. The Sumter County product started in eight games in his sophomore season and played in 10, contributing three interceptions and 45 tackles.
Neal’s junior year was incredible to say the least, as he posted 96 tackles in only 12 games. He went on to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the 17th pick. Neal still plays in Atlanta today, and made the Pro Bowl as a replacement in 2017.
1. Matt Elam (2010-13)
This was a no brainer for the first spot, as Matt Elam was a complete force for the Gators from 2010-2013.
Elam was a high school All American, hailing from Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and continued that success in college. Elam played in all 13 games as a freshman and started in his sophomore year. In his final year as a junior, Elam was an All American and earned All-SEC honors before he declared for the NFL Draft. He was also named a semifinalist for the Bednarik and Thorpe awards.
Elam finished his three seasons at Florida with 176 tackles, 23.5 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and six interceptions. The former five star was drafted which the last pick in the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, and played in Baltimore for three years. He now plays for the XFL’s DC Defenders.