In just two games, Texas A&M senior defensive back Roney Elam has made a name for himself on the football field.
Prior to this season, Elam’s stat line was bare. He had no interceptions and no sacks coming into the season opener against Texas State, despite playing in 34 games since 2016, and he had only accumulated 21 tackles over three years.
Now, Elam has posted two interceptions in as many games for the Aggies, adding a sack and eight tackles — seven of those solo.
Elam’s first career interception came during the Aggies’ matchup against the Bobcats, which he returned 24 yards. He also added a sack on quarterback Tyler Vitt for a five-yard loss.
Elam notched another interception in A&M’s 24-10 loss to Clemson last Saturday. He said the interception, which halted what would have been a scoring drive for Clemson late in the fourth quarter, just happened by chance.
“We were in man coverage and the receiver went outside,” Elam said. “I looked up for the ball and it was right there.”
He said he hopes the streak of interceptions continues throughout the season.
“I’m going to try to get one every game,” Elam said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher said he is proud of Elam’s performances in A&M’s first two games.
“He is playing really good football right now, taking advantage of those opportunities, and he’s worked to really get himself better,” Fisher said. “That was a really nice play he made on that ball; both of them he’s made, matter of fact, have been really good catches.”
The two interceptions bring A&M’s season total so far to five, almost matching the seven they had at the end of last season in just two games. Elam said creating more turnovers was a focus for the secondary this season.
“We focused this season on making plays on the ball because last year it wasn’t very good,” Elam said.
A Newton High School graduate, Elam had 66 tackles, three forced fumbles, five interceptions with two returned for touchdowns and four blocked field goals in his senior year with the Eagles.
He also played quarterback for Newton, posting 347 rushing and 498 passing yards and eight offensive touchdowns his senior year.
In his junior season, Elam had 976 passing and 515 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns on offense, in addition to 23 tackles and five interceptions on defense.
Once arriving at A&M, Elam redshirted his freshman year and then didn’t see much playing time in his next three seasons.
Fisher said he has a lot of respect for the path Elam has taken — sticking with the program even if he wasn’t necessarily getting the playtime he wanted.
“That’s the thing about him,” Fisher said. “You don’t have those guys anymore because guys don’t play as much and they want to leave. It’s the greatest compliment to his development and what college football’s about and why you do stick it out and stay in the program and keep waiting.”
Sophomore linebacker Anthony Hines said Elam’s work ethic is motivating.
“He’s a prime example of that,” Hines said. “That’s a guy who I’ve seen really grind it out and really work hard for this opportunity. I’m really glad that he’s taking advantage of it.”
However, Elam has a more humble perspective on his journey.
“No matter where you go in life, you face different challenges,” Elam said. “Why not just face them?”