St. Edward’s Davontae Elam eyeing big finish

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Fully healthy for a change, Davontae Elam is looking to put an exclamation point on his four-year varsity football career.

The St. Edward senior running back got off to a good start in Saturday’s win against Genoa-Kingston when he racked up 214 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns, including one on an acrobatic 79-yard reception for what was his only catch of the game.

It wasn’t a bad day of work considering Elam touched the ball only 14 times as the Green Wave blew things open in the second half, leaving him rested and ready for his next performance.

“Seeing the way Davontae ran the ball Saturday night is really what we expect out of him, and to tell you the truth we probably expect more because he only had 13 carries,” St. Edward coach Mike Rolando said. “He’s a big back, he’s a strong back and he’s a guy we expect to give the ball to 30 times and carry the load.”

At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Elam gives St. Edward the best of both worlds as a powerful north-south runner who can also make people miss with nifty moves.

The key for Elam this season will be staying healthy after a nagging toe injury bothered him for much of his junior year and an abdominal injury plagued him as a sophomore.

“It’s frustrating when you can’t help your brothers out 100 percent,” Elam said. “I just tried my hardest and did what I could.”

To Elam’s credit, he still earned All-Suburban Christian Blue honors last fall despite never fully recovering from the toe injury that forced him to sit out St. Edward’s Week 3 game against Marmion. He finished the year with 918 yards and eight touchdowns on 168 carries.

One thing working in Elam’s favor this fall is the Green Wave’s added depth, which means he likely won’t have to contribute at defensive back as much as he did in past seasons.

“We don’t really talk much about injuries and we try to keep that stuff close to the vest during the season,” Rolando said. “Even when (Elam) was hurting he was still a really good back, and I’m excited to see what he can do with a full season if we can keep him healthy.”

Elam said his goals this year include topping 1,000 yards rushing and helping the Green Wave reach the playoffs, which is something the program hasn’t accomplished since Elam was a freshman in 2010.

Also a key member of St. Edward’s basketball team, Elam’s future figures to be on the gridiron. Rolando said the standout has generated a good deal of interest among college football coaches, most of whom are waiting to see film from Elam’s senior year before making an offer.

While Elam’s skills and big performances are certain to attract attention, there are less noticeable areas where he’ll have a big impact for the Green Wave. This year his younger brother Desean is a freshman up with St. Edward’s varsity team, giving Davontae one more teammate to mold.

“I’ve improved my attitude and become a better leader these four years,” Elam said. “I can help the younger guys out with tips and small things to make their game better. I just try to be a role model for them.”

Adds Rolando: “It would be easy for a four-year running back to have a chip on his shoulder and not be likable on a team, but Davontae is just the opposite. He’s well-liked in the school, he’s well-liked by his classmates and he’s well-liked on the team because of the way he carries himself.”

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