University of Florida Gators
George Washington High School
One of the best draft prospects in Florida football history, Floyd overcame extreme hardship early in his life to emerge as a dominating force for the Gators. You would think that a player who possesses excellent mechanics, a “search and destroy” attitude on the field and natural instincts that allowed him to terrorize opposing quarterbacks to have a long association with the game of football.
Called by the Florida staff a “student of the game” and a “coach on the field,” to have spent every waking moment watching football games. But, the player honestly admits that the first time he ever watched the game on television was during Indianapolis’ Super bowl victory after the 2007 season.
“It wasn’t that I had no interest,” the All-American defensive lineman said. “I didn’t know anything about it, so there was no reason to watch it. Even when I started playing, I liked to play it and I didn’t like to be still and watch a game and watch my friends get excited and jump around for no reason. Now I watch it and play it.” So, what did Floyd watch before he became interested in NFL Games? The player laughed and said, “’That’s So Raven’ on the Disney Channel.”
Now, favorably compared to Richard Seymour for his dominance in the trenches, great speed and burst off the snap and ability to play any position on the defensive front wall, Floyd’s road to the top of his draft class was filled with lots of road blocks and twists and turns before he captured the attention of college recruiters. His “story” and lessons learned about life and people could rival that of Baltimore’s Michael Oher of the movie and book “Blind Side” fame.
Floyd grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia on the north side of town. As a child, he never really knew his father, who was in and out of jail, leaving the youngster without a role model or mentor. He lived with his mother, for a short time, with some stretch of his childhood sleeping out of a car.
The youngster later lived with his grandmother, who was ill and could not work. He supported her during his high school days by working long hours for a landscaping company to help out at home. He would also live with his high school coach and guidance counselor, but even though he grew up without his parents with obvious financial hard-ship, he was never one to complain, nor run the streets and get into trouble. He just felt that things would get better if he remained focused and kept working hard.
Floyd’s time doing the “heavy lifting” required at his job saw him grow to 310 pounds as a senior at George Washington High School. As a 280-pound junior, he first began to garner national attention, as the defensive end led the Eagles to an 10-2 record in 2008, recording 50 tackles with two sacks and seven more stops behind the line of scrimmage, even though he kept the news from his coaches that he played a good portion of the schedule with an anterior cruciate knee ligament tear.
Shortly after his junior campaign, Floyd had received an invitation to attend the U.S. Army Combine and High School All-American Game, held in San Antonio, Texas. Having to care for his grandmother, any money he made from landscaping put food on the table at home, with nothing to spare. He didn’t have enough funds to make the trip there.
The player knew it might be his one chance to put himself on the national radar. So he went to his guidance counselor, Dawn Reed-Seeger, who had let him stay at her home for a time, and after much thought she devised a plan. They would hold a baking sale to raise the funds needed for the trip.
With help from special-education students, Floyd baked brownies and sold them at school for weeks to raise the money. The sale was a success, and Floyd dominated the All-Star Game (unfortunately, his grandmother was too ill and couldn’t attend the game).
Renowned recruiting analyst, Tom Lemming of Prep Football Report was in attendance during the U.S. Army events and wrote about Floyd, “He took everyone by surprise down in San Antonio last January and dominated the defensive line competition. Every top offensive lineman he went up vs. talked about his strength, quickness, and burst.”
Floyd displayed a great combination of size, strength, quickness and athletic ability throughout the Combine. For a player that did not embrace the game of football until 2007, he works real hard to disengage and get to the ball. Down in San Antonio, he showed why many recruiters felt that he had five-star ability.
Lemming felt that Floyd’s 2009 senior season would be his “big coming out party” as a defensive lineman. He also cited the player’s abilities as an offensive lineman, noting Floyd’s quick feet, athletic ability, and body control. Still, it was the player’s dominance at defensive tackle that caught the most attention from prospective college teams.
In the 2008 city championship game, Floyd dominated the middle of the line from the defensive tackle position. He carried that performance over to the 2009 season, where he constantly stood up blockers up at the point of attack showing the strength and leverage to hold his ground and find the ball, much like he has done during his three seasons terrorizing Southeastern Conference offensive linemen.
Throughout 2009, Floyd was also able to make tackles in pursuit, which was another reason why he was so heavily recruited by Florida, Miami, Boston College, North Carolina, Penn State, Syracuse, West Virginia, Georgia, Illinois, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, UCLA and Miami, to name just a few. He would make several visits to schools before deciding to sign his national letter-of-intent to attend the University of Florida.
Floyd recalls the recruiting trips, “I didn’t have goals, college-wise, going into the summer, but I have to say it was a great summer. I got to travel, I got to go down to Florida, and to South Carolina, Georgia. I got to visit Florida, Miami, Florida International and South Florida. I got to visit all those schools unofficially and see what they were all about.
“My idea of the ideal school is a simple one. I’m not looking for anything specific, just a chance in life to improve myself. I’m not looking for the glamorous life, just an opportunity for an education and a chance to play football.”
Floyd completed his summer by attending the Top Gun Showcase, in Paisley, Florida, in July. Then it was off to work, grinding away under a harsh sun for ten hours a day doing landscaping. “It’s tough, hard work, but I did manage to get a lot of things done this summer,” said Floyd. “There were definite goals I wanted to hit in my workouts and I’m pretty happy, because I hit them all.”
Floyd would play on both lines during his senior season and was nearly impossible for opposing blockers to contain. The work at the landscaping company produced a 17-year-old who was already bench pressing 415 pounds and boasting 600 pounds in both the dead-lift and squat. The five-star prospect was ranked the best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com and was selected the Maxwell Football Club’s National High School Player of the Year in 2009.
The two-way lineman was also an All-American choice on both sides of the line by Parade and an All-American defensive pick by EA Sports. He garnered Public League Player of the Year accolades and was named to the All-City squad by the Daily News. The Daily News also named him to their All-Decade team, in addition to selecting him as the Public League Player of the Decade.
When Floyd announced that he was heading to the University of Florida, his guidance counselor, Dawn Reed-Seeger, was at his side. Reed-Seeger was tearing up during the announcement. Floyd also let his high school coach, Ron Cohen, announce his choice for him. In a time when so many athletes crave the attention of this television announcement, how many star athletes would defer this pivotal moment to their coach?
Floyd arrived at Florida and was a valuable reserve, playing behind Jaye Howard at weak-side defensive tackle in 2010. In thirteen games, he recorded 23 tackles (10 solos) and tied for fourth on the team with eight stops for losses. He was named Player of the Game after posting seven tackles, three coming behind the line of scrimmage, vs. Vanderbilot and would start vs. Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team by the league’s coaches in 2010, Floyd’s 2011 season had to wait until the third game to begin. Prior to his high school senior season, the player joined the Student Athlete Mentoring (S.A.M.) Foundation, a Delaware-based non-profit group whose stated mission is to help high school athletes with SAT and ACT preparation and organize visits to colleges and camps.
There, he met Kevin Lahn, who would later adopt Floyd in December, 2011. Before the adoption, Lahn had given the athlete $2,700 during the course of several months for school books and other things that Floyd would need to attend classes. The NCAA stepped in and ruled that the Gator would be declared ineligible to play due to violations of NCAA preferential treatment rules, citing he had received those benefits from an individual not associated with the university.
Floyd was suspended for first two games of 2011 season and was ordered to repay the money to a charity. However, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and head coach Will Muschamp have spoken highly of their All-American performer. “Stuff happens,” Floyd said when asked at the incident. “My coaches fought for me the best they could, so there’s
no bad blood between us on that. We got it reduced from four games to two. We just dealt with it. I was just waiting to get back on the field, and that’s what we did.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp issued a statement about Floyd after the NCAA ruling. "I'm angered, disgusted and extremely disappointed that Sharrif will have to miss two games. In my opinion Sharrif is getting lumped into what is bad about college athletics. As we indicated in the statement Saturday night his issue was not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else.”
"Sharrif is what is good about college athletics – his life is about survival, struggle, disappointment and adversity”, the coach continued. “I have recruited kids that did not know where they would sleep that night or what they would eat. Growing up, Sharrif was one these kids. Sharrif's life is also about triumph, honesty, integrity, determination, perseverance and character. The NCAA stated that he received preferential treatment; there is nothing preferential about his life. He grew up with only his great grandmother and still sends her Pell Grant money so she can pay her bills. How many kids do you know that would do that? I know one – Sharrif Floyd.”
"I want to make it clear that this issue is not about sports agents, Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida or anywhere else. The issue is about his survival and the only reason the NCAA, the SEC and the University of Florida were aware of these issues is because Sharrif brought them to our attention last February. He came forward because, as I said before, he is honest and because of his integrity.”
"The toughest day that I have had as a head football coach at Florida was the day that I had to tell Sharrif that he could not play in our game vs. FAU last week. I took away part of his family. He had tears in his eyes and said "What have I done wrong?" I told him he did nothing wrong. It wasn't any easier to tell him today that he would be missing Saturday's game. I have two sons at home- if they end up like Sharrif I will consider myself a successful father."
Back on the football field, Floyd made his 2011 debut vs. Tennessee and during the Vols’ first two series, they would both come to an end with the recently inserted weak-side defensive end pressuring the pocket on third-down snaps that resulted in an interception and an incompletion.
Floyd spent his season at defensive end to help the Gators (6-6) with a lack of depth there, but when starting strong-side defensive tackle Dominique Easley suffered a knee ligament tear in the Gators’ season finale, Floyd was shifted back inside for the Gator Bowl vs. Ohio State. He closed out his sophomore campaign with 46 tackles that included 6.5 stops for loss, in addition to blocking a kick.
Floyd would start all thirteen games at weak-side defensive tackle in 2012, as the All-American and All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection was nearly impossible to stop. He led a swarming defense that finished 40th in the nation vs. the run in 2011 (132.69 ypg) to rank fourth nationally in 2012 (94.92 ypg), as he tallied 46 tackles with three sacks and six pressures. He also led the Gators with thirteen quarterback pressures, six which caused interceptions, as he also blocked two kicks.
Shortly after the Gators were defeated by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on January 2nd, Floyd was one of several Florida players to announce they would be leaving school to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. The defensive tackle didn’t spend any of his time talking about the decision before the Sugar Bowl, as he wanted to be focused on the game and the preparation that would be taking place.
Once Floyd got into the locker room and showered after the loss, he was ready to make the decision public. The player said he wasn’t sure of his decision until after the game, but that was more out of respect of his teammates and being focused on what happened Wednesday night. “All my focus has been on my team and football and the season,” Floyd said. “Now, it’s time to move on. I’ve got the blessing from my coaches. It’s time to move on and do what I need to do for me.” Floyd closed out his college career with a two-sack performance vs. the Louisville Cardinals.
Floyd then began preparing to show NFL teams his athletic ability at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. There, the Gator dazzled those in attendance with his 40-yard dash time (4.87 seconds) and agility drills. Considered a consensus top-five pick in the draft, he could become the first Florida Gator to be selected in the top five since defensive tackle Gerard Warren was taken in the third round by Cleveland in 2001.
Floyd started 25-of-37 games at Florida State – fourteen at weak-side defensive tackle, one at strong-side tackle and ten at weak-side end…Recorded 115 tackles (58 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 33 yards, 26.0 stops for losses totaling 83 yards and eleven quarterback pressures…Caused one fumble, deflected a pass and blocked three kicks…The only Gators to block more kicks during a career were Chris Rainey (six, 2007-11), Tim Paulk (four, 1987-91), Sam McCorkle (four, 1992-95) and Carlos Dunlap (four, 2007-09)…
Floyd earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, Sporting News, Phil Steele and Associated Press, become the first Gators defensive lineman since Alex Brown in 2001 to be named to an All-American team…Added All-Southeastern Conference first-team honors from the league’s coaches…Ranked fifth on the team with 46 tackles (29 solos), as he posted three sacks for minus 28 yards and six pressures…Led the Gators with thirteen stops for losses of 52 yards…Caused a fumble…Blocked two kicks, one shy of the school season-record of three blocks, shared by Carlos Dunlap (2008), Jacquez Green (1995), Sam McCorkle (1994) and Tim Paulk (1988)…Led a solid effort to contain the running game, as the Gators ranked second in the league and fourth nationally in rush defense (94.92 ypg; one of five major colleges to hold opponents under 100 yards rushing per game in 2012)…Also played a major role in Florida placing fifth in the nation in total defense (287.46 ypg) and scoring defense (14.46 ppg)…Registered a tackle for loss in nine of the thirteen games he started at weak-side defensive tackle…Recorded five tackles, including two sacks for a loss of 12 yards and blocked a field goal vs. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl…Had one tackle for a loss of 16 yards at Florida State…Forced his first career fumble vs. Louisiana that led to a UF field goal…Posted five tackles, three of which were for losses vs. Missouri to earn the College Football Performance Award Week Eleven Defensive Lineman honors…Notched four tackles vs. Georgia, including two behind the line of scrimmage…Tallied four tackles and blocked a field goal vs. South Carolina…Made four tackles with 1.5 stops for loss at Tennessee…Had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage in each of the first three games of the season (Bowling Green, Texas A&M and Tennessee).
Floyd received All-American third-team and All-SEC first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report…Added All-Southeastern Conference second-team accolades from Athlon Sports…Started each of the team’s final eleven games after returning to the team from a two-game suspension handed down by the NCAA…Started at weak-side defensive end during his first ten appearances and at strong-side defensive tackle vs. Ohio State in the Gator Bowl…Helped Florida place eighth nationally in total defense (299.54 ypg), as the sophomore recorded 46 tackles (19 solos) with 1.5 sacks, 6.5 stops for losses of 14 yards and four pressures…Also blocked a kick and deflected a pass…Registered his first career sack in the Gator Bowl, and followed it with an assisted sack on the very next play for a total loss of five yards…Recorded six tackles vs. Florida State…Notched four tackles vs. Furman, assisting on a 1-yard stop-for-loss…Had three tackles vs. both South Carolina and Vanderbilt, with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage and his first career blocked field goal vs. Vanderbilt…Was one shy of the team lead with eight tackles vs. Georgia, as he also posted two stops for losses of four yards…Recorded a career-high eleven tackles at Louisiana State, assisting on a stop for a 1-yard loss…Notched three tackles vs. Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee, with his first career pass breakup vs. the Volunteers.
Floyd was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team by the league’s coaches after he made 23 tackles (10 solos) with eight stops for losses of 17 yards and a pressure…The Gators would finish second in the conference and ninth in the nation in total defense (306.54 ypg)…Played in thirteen games, mostly behind Jaye Howard at weak-side defensive tackle before earning his first career start vs. Penn State in the Outback Bowl, where the fresh-man contributed two tackles, including one for loss…Named the Player of the Game in Florida’s win over Vanderbilt, with seven tackles, three stops for a loss of 10 yards and one quarterback hurry…Had three tackles and one for loss vs. Appalachian State and two tackles in UF’s win over Georgia…Recorded two tackles in the Gators’ game vs. Alabama and produced his first-career start in Florida’s win over Kentucky, recording two tackles and a 0.5 TFL for a loss of one yard…In his first game as a Gator in the season opener, he recorded three tackles and received a special mention from his coaches.
2008 Season…Played part of his high school junior season with a knee ligament (anterior cruciate) tear.
2012 Postseason…Floyd did not run on Florida’s March 22nd Pro Day due to a minor ankle injury that he suffered in February at the NFL Scouting Combine.
4.87 in the 40-yard dash…1.66 10-yard dash…2.68 20-yard dash…4.25 20-yard shuttle…7.40 three-cone drill…30-inch vertical jump…8’10” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times…415-pound bench press…600-pound squat…600-pound dead-lift…
31 ¾-inch arm length…10 1/8-inch hands…77-inch wingspan.
Floyd attended George Washington (North Philadelphia, Pa.) High School, playing football for head coach Ron Cohen…As a 280-pound junior, the defensive end led the Eagles to an 10-2 record in 2008, recording 50 tackles with two sacks and seven more stops behind the line of scrimmage, even though he kept the news from his coaches that he played a good portion of the schedule with an anterior cruciate knee ligament tear…Shortly after his junior campaign, Floyd had received an invitation to attend the U.S. Army Combine and High School All-American Game, held in San Antonio, Texas, where he earned first-team All-Combine recognition…In the 2008 city championship game, Floyd dominated the middle of the line from the defensive tackle position…Carried that performance over to the 2009 season, where he constantly stood up blockers up at the point of attack showing the strength and leverage to hold his ground and find the ball. Throughout 2009, Floyd was also able to make tackles in pursuit…The five-star prospect was ranked the best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com and was selected the Maxwell Football Club’s National High School Player of the Year in 2009…The two-way lineman was also an All-American choice on both sides of the line by Parade and an All-American defensive pick by EA Sports…Garnered Public League Player of the Year accolades and was named to the All-City squad by the Daily News…The Daily News also named him to their All-Decade team, in addition to selecting him as the Public League Player of the Decade…Graduated from school with a 3.0 grade point average.
Social and Behavioral Sciences major…Born 5/28/92 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.