High School Years
Elder in High school was rated a high three star or four-star recruit by most of the services back in 2012. He was a late add to the football recruiting class by Al Golden. One of the main selling points for him to come to Miami was the fact that he wanted to try to play both football and basketball. Elder in high school was a Mr. Everything type player. He played defensive back, wide receiver and running back. After his junior AND senior seasons were over he was named “Mr. Football” for the state of Tennessee. Due to playing so many positions he was dubbed an “athlete” by many of the recruiting services.
Freshman Season (2013)
It’s interesting when looking back at players and how they were used by one staff when compared over time to another coaching staff. In Elder’s case, he was used sparingly on special team returns and rarely saw time in the base defense (finished with just seven tackles on the year). Now, if you fast forward to this season and you think about the freshmen that were used all over the defense, all of them flashed at one time or another. Golden many times burned redshirt seasons on players for no production. Just another reason I guess the coaching change was made.
One last note to come back to, with a few games left in the season Elder injured his knee and had to sit out the basketball season. It may have been due to the injury or other motives (Miami was and still is loaded as a basketball team) Elder decided to focus solely on football.
Sophomore Season (2014)
Heading into his second year on campus Elder started to see more playing time in regularly used defensive packages. He primarily played on passing downs as a nickel or dime back. Due to getting on the field more, not coincidentally, his impact started to be felt as a defensive playmaker. For the season he accounted for 34 tackles but showed flashes in a few contest when he was given prolonged playing time. Against both Cincinnati and UVA he gained 7 tackles apiece.
Junior Season (2015)
Slowly and steadily Elder worked his way up the depth chart. In the 2015 season Elder started half the season (7 of the 13 games) and made a big impact on special teams (you remember Duke return?) as well as on defense where he accounted for two interceptions. His tackle totals also ticked slightly up to 41 on the season. Due to his play making ability there were murmurs after the season concluded that he may turn pro but Elder decided to come back for his senior season and it’s paid off in spades.
Senior Season (2016)
I’ll be honest, I don’t really get the disconnect NFL scouts have with rating Elder highly for the NFL draft and even the media pundits for that matter when it comes to offseason awards. Yes, Elder isn’t the 6’ + physical corner the NFL maybe looking for but he’s a darn good playmaker. In ’16 Elder was the starting boundary corner all season. In the running game he has shown that he’s a form tackler and when he gets tested by the opposition he’s rarely beaten. For the season he only totaled one interception. That’s largely due to the fact that opponents rarely tested his side of the field and tried to attack Miami more down the middle of the field. In the running game, as mentioned a few sentences ago, Elder has laid the wood to running backs. Heck, Coach Diaz has even used Elder to rush the passer, he has three sacks on the year.
Elder is a sure fire NFL prospect. It’ll just be a matter of what round he goes. He runs in the 4.4’s or 4.3s so he has that going for him but unfortunately his size may turn a few scouts off (listed at 5’10’’ 180). Personally, I think he’s one of the more polished corners to come out of Miami in a long time. We’ve seen a lot of guys who duck their heads on tackles or cause needless pass interference calls when all they need to do is turn their heads to the ball. Elder has played over the last four season and due to Mike Rumph coming in to coach him in ’16 has taken his game to another level. What should be attractive to scouts is that because of his size, Elder could play on the inside (he’s very quick as you all know) or on the outside if needed.
It’ll be interesting how the NFL scouts grade him out and then later draft him come April. Whoever selects Elder, if he goes mid round to later in the draft, will be getting a steal.