UF's Easley set for breakout season
Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 3:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 10:11 p.m.
HOOVER, Ala. — Dominique Easley stretched his 6-foot-2 frame over a chair as much as into it. He wore a suit and a smile and looked like a man who can't wait for fall camp to begin.
“You guys look good,” he said to the media members assembled in a suite at the Hyatt where SEC Media Days is being held this week. “All smiling and everything.”
If the summer is over and everyone is getting ready to get back to work, nobody is more ready than Easley.
This, after all, is the year.
“Gotta give it everything,” he said. “Can't have no regrets at the end.”
It's not that Easley hasn't been a fine player at Florida in his three years at the school. It's just that they haven't quite been what a lot of people expected when he signed out of Staten Island, N.Y.
He was supposed to be a dominator. But injuries have been an issue and the constant switching between defensive end and tackle has had an effect.
But now, as he prepares for the 2013 season, you can sense that Easley is ready.
His body is so tight you wouldn't dream that he is up to 285 pounds.
“I'm trying to get a beach body,” Easley said. “I think it's coming in pretty good.”
It's not surprising that Easley is still at Florida, but when he signed you might have thought he'd be gone with his buddy Sharrif Floyd to the NFL by now.
But Easley decided to come back for the 2013 season, a decision that coach Will Muschamp said was based on maturity and good advice.
“I think he made a very smart decision to stay in school,” Muschamp said. “We had some long talks. (Former defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn and I felt like with the input we got from the NFL, it would be in his best interest to stay.”
Easley acknowledged that the NFL feedback played a part in his decision. He said he was expected to go in the third or fourth round.
“I believe I can go higher,” he said.
But there was something else.
“It was a hard decision but it was really based on my mother,” Easley said. “She asked me to come back and finish school (he is expected to graduate in the spring). She wants to see me walk across the stage.
“That's what she keeps bugging me about. You gotta make your mother happy.”
With his beach body and his expertise at playing the tackle position (“That's where I started, and I would say I'm much more advanced inside”), Easley is prepared to have a big year. It also helps that he's healthy after playing last year while recovering from an ACL tear he suffered the previous year against Florida State.
“It was more mental than anything,” he said. “But I'm really looking forward to this season.”