Florida DT Dominique Easley (ACL) to enter 2014 NFL Draft
Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. He will not return to Florida and enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
Will Muschamp confirmed Monday that the Easley, a senior, will not seek a medical redshirt for 2013 after tearing the ACL in his right knee during practice on Sept. 24, instead opting to enter the 2014 NFL Draft.
The decision is not surprising, especially when you take into account the fact that this is Easley's second major knee injury as a Gator. Easley suffered an ACL tear in his left knee at the end of the 2011 season.
Muschamp told reporters that he supported the decision, and gave a nice plug for his star defensive tackle.
"I think that’s the best move for him right now, to prepare himself for April and get ready for that," Muschamp said. "He and I talked briefly about it, and that’s what he wants to do. I support it 100 percent.
"He’ll be a productive guy on the next level. He’s a really good football player. He’s extremely intelligent. He gets the game. His tape speaks for itself and how he plays the game and approaches the game. He’ll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations that want him."
In Easley's 32 games as a Gator over the last four seasons, he totaled 72 tackles, 5.5 sacks and a blocked punt. NFLDraftScout.com had Easley listed as the No. 3 defensive tackle and No. 29 overall prospect in the 2014 draft class, but his status as a first round pick could change with the injury according to NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Dane Brugler.
"He has an explosive first step and is extremely fluid for his size, showing lateral burst to attack gaps and win angles," Brugler wrote. "Easley is a tough, high motor kid and forces the issue with his penetration, making an impact even if he doesn't get the sack or tackle. He is a high character person with a strong work ethic so if anyone can return from an injury like this, it's him."
On Sept. 23, both Brugler and Rob Rang had Easley going in the first round of their mock drafts. With the tape Easley has assembled at Florida, general managers should have no trouble identifying a future NFL product. The key will be Easley's recovery and rehabilitation, which will take place in the coming months.
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