Posted: 8:40 pm Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Matt Elam will be named 2009 Mr. Football 

By Jason Lieser

Matt Elam’s senior season at Dwyer will earn him a place among legends.

Elam, who played linebacker and running back for the state champion Panthers last year, will be named Mr. Football for the state of Florida. Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said he was informed yesterday and Elam announced it on his Facebook page.

Matt Elam rips through Niceville in the Class 4A state championship. (Greg Lovett/The Post)

Matt Elam rips through Niceville in the Class 4A state championship. (Greg Lovett/The Post)

He joins a list of past winners that includes Tim Tebow, Anquan Boldin and Daunte Culpepper.

“I feel like he’s deserving,” Daniels said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach a player like that and it’s a pretty special award in this state.”

Elam is Palm Beach County’s third winner, following Pahokee’s Boldin (1998) and Antone Smith (2004).

Elam was one of the nation’s top recruits and already is enrolled at the University of Florida.

Daniels said the organizers of the award, which is sponsored by the Florida Dairy Farmers, are hoping to honor Elam at halftime of the Florida vs. South Carolina basketball game on Saturday. Elam’s family and several former Dwyer coaches are expected to attend the game.

Dwyer graduate Ramon Galloway currently is a freshman on the South Carolina basketball team and was very close with Elam while the two were classmates.

In his senior year with the Panthers, Elam had 61 tackles, including 15 for negative yards, at linebacker. As a running back, he rushed for 1,883 yards and 27 touchdowns on just 178 attempts in 15 games.

He compiled those numbers despite sitting out the second half of most of Dwyer’s games. The Panthers blew out most of their opponents and won the first state title in program history.

Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor was one of the other seven finalists for the award.

The voting is facilitated by the Florida Dairy Farmers Association and consists of statewide media and coaches.

Blue Devils senior Nu’Keese Richardson was the area’s highest finisher last season at fifth place.

Past Mr. Football winners for Florida:

1992 – Jammi German, Ft. Myers
1993 – Shevin Wiggins, Bradenton-Manatee
1994 – Daunte Culpepper, Ocala-Vanguard
1995 – Frankie Franklin, Jacksonville-Sandalwood
1996 – Travis Henry, Frostproof
1997 – Zain Gilmore, Tampa-Robinson
1998 – Anquan Boldin, Pahokee
1999 – Willie Green, Kissimmee-Osceola
2000 – Adrian McPherson, Bradenton-Southeast
2001 – Leon Washington, Jacksonville-Jackson
2002 – Andre Reese, Pierson Taylor
2003 – Xavier Lee, Daytona-Seabreeze
2004 – Antone Smith, Pahokee
2005 – Tim Tebow, Ponte Vedra-Nease
2006 – Robert Marve, Tampa-Plant
2007 – Jacory Harris, Miami Northwestern
2008 – A.J. Graham, Tallahassee-Godby