CBSSports.com released their 2012 All-American team yesterday and safety Matt Elam was named to the first team.
As a junior Elam, was the unassuming leader of a Florida defense which finished fifth in the nation in total defense, first in pass efficiency, sixth in rushing defense, and fifth in turnover margin.
Elam finished second on the team in tackles for the second consecutive season with 65 but first in unassisted tackles with 49, second in tackles for loss with ten, and first in interceptions with four.
The Gator defense was one of the top defenses all season and was the major reason the Gators were able to turn around last season’s 7-6 record into an 11-1 barely missing an opportunity to play in the SEC Championship game and a chance to play in the BCS Championship game.
Senior placekicker Caleb Sturgis was named to the second team.
A Lou Groza Award finalist for the second consecutive season, Sturgis finished the season with a Gators career record for made field goals with 69 one better than previous record holder Jeff Chandler. His three field goals from 50+ yards gave him eight for his career which is also a new school record.
His twenty three made field goals this season tied him for third most in the country and of his five missed kicks, four field goals and one missed extra point, four were blocked.
Sophomore punter Kyle Christy was named to the third team after a season in which his value could not be expressed enough. His booming kicks repeatedly got them out of bad field position and his accuracy at dropping punts inside the twenty made him one of the Gators most valuable weapons.
Christy, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award given to the nation’s top punter, finished the season sixth in the country with a 46.1 yard per punt average. His ability to drive the ball with good hang time allowed the speedy punt coverage team to shut down opponents’ return games and create turnovers helping the Gators to a seventh place national ranking in net punting.
A good example of Christy’s value would be the job he and the Gators punt coverage unit did against South Carolina’s Ace Sanders who is also on the third team as well as the punt returner. They held him to a half a yard on one return with a fumble, one of five turnovers the Gators forced that day leading to a huge Gator victory.