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The preseason hype only continues to grow for junior Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. After a stellar 2020 season in which he was named to the Coaches First Team All-SEC and AP Second Team All-SEC, he’s considered a potential top 10 pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
He’s also expected to be one of the top defensive players in college football, as he was named to the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award on Monday. The Bednarik Award is given annually to the best defensive player in the nation.
Elam started all 12 games in 2020 for the Gators, totaling 39 tackles and two interceptions, which tied for first on the team with Shawn Davis. He also led the team with 11 pass breakups.
UF’s secondary was a weakness last season, but Elam’s play was a bright spot. Starting alongside Jaydon Hill, he’s expected to be one of the SEC’s best corners in 2021.
He’ll hope to remain in the running for the Bednarik Award as the season progresses. The winner will be announced at the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9.
So far, Elam is the only Florida player named to a preseason award watch list, but that will almost certainly change. He should also be named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back in the nation.