Florida safety Matt Elam earned two big preseason honors on Friday morning when he was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Jim Thorpe Award watch lists. The 5-10, 210-pound junior was one of five Gators to play in and start every game in 2011.
led the team with 11 tackles for a loss, seven pass breakups and two forced fumbles in 2011. He was second on the team with 78 total tackles, adding two interceptions, two sacks and one quarterback hurry.
Elam joins teammate Sharrif Floyd on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list. The Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club give the award to the nation's top defensive player.
The Jim Thorpe Award is given to the top defensive back in college football. There are 35 players from 11 different conferences on the watch list.