Junior; 6’2″ 193 pounds
Normally, the Florida Gators’ dominance over Tennessee football dating back to the mid-2000s is marked by one player consistently dominating them each year. Kaiir Elam actually doesn’t fit that mold. He didn’t play against the Vols in 2019, and last year, while he did have a pass deflection and three tackles, two of which were solo, he didn’t dominate.
Well, Elam is now a rising star as a junior and is expected to have an All-American season. He has registered two interceptions each of the past two years, and he came away with 11 pass deflections, a fumble recovery, a tackle for a loss and 39 overall tackles, 28 of which were solo last year. Simply put, he’s a cornerback who does it all.
This year, with Josh Heupel expected to spread the field for the Vols, Elam is a guy he will have to account for. Florida is going through a bit of a transition on offense given the departures of Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts, but their defense is still elite. Elam is a reason for that.
As a result, no Florida player is more crucial for the Vols to deal with than Elam this year. He’s the biggest reason UF is once again a circled loss for UT. If Heupel’s kids are to have any chance at an upset, Elam is the guy they have to worry about.