Gators DT Dominique Easley out for the season

By Adam Silverstein
September 25, 2013

Florida Gators senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, a leader of the defense and one of the unit’s most explosive players through the team’s three games, will miss the rest of the 2013 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial meniscus in his right knee during practice on Tuesday.

Head coach Will Muschamp officially announced Easley’s injury on Wednesday afternoon after downplaying it earlier in the day during the weekly SEC football coaches’ media teleconference.

“I talked to Dominique and the team this afternoon and we will continue to look for his leadership and experience throughout the season. Watching any of your players go through this is one of the hardest things about being a coach,” he said in a school release. “Obviously, it is hardest on Dominique. We are disappointed for him, but we will be there for him every step of the way through his surgery and rehab process.”

“It was non-contact,” said defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin on Wednesday. “He was turning, running on a screen pass and just tweaked it a little bit, it looked like on tape.”

Easley is the second big-time starter and team leader to go down for the Gators in a four-day span as Florida also lost junior quarterback Jeff Driskel to a broken right fibula during Saturday’s 31-17 victory over Tennessee.

“Gatornation thank you for all of 4 yrs of sticking wi th me but god has something else planned for and have no worries #believe,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

He is also the sixth UF player (fourth starter) to suffer a season-ending injury joining Driskel (ACL), redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green (labrum), redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose (ACL), freshman defensive back Nick Washington (shoulder) and freshman linebacker Matt Rolin (ACL). Green, Debose and Rolin were each knocked out for the season during fall camp.

Easley returned for his senior season at the behest of his mother to get his degree; he also wanted to leave his mark on the Gators football program and improve his stock heading into the 2014 NFL Draft.

He was on his way to doing all three this season, finishing his education while leading Florida with four quarterback hurries through three games.

“Dominique is a guy that has a great motor, great enthusiasm as you can see on the field. I think that’s a contagious thing. He’s been very disruptive to many teams in the backfield. He plays the game the way we want guys to play on defense,” Durkin explained. “With all that being said, he’s a part of a whole team of guys that I think are playing well and doing things. That’s the way we want to play on defense, and I think he epitomizes that, but I think other guys do as well.”

Many analysts mocked Easley as a first-round selection in the upcoming draft. He likely would have been a late-second day pick if he left following his junior season.

Now his football-playing future is unfortunately up in the air.

The Gators must now focus on replacing Easley, though making up for his lost production will certainly be a much more difficult task.

Junior Darious Cummings, who registered his first career interception against Tennessee, is listed as second on the depth chart, but Florida will also start working freshman Jay-nard Bostwick into the mix for playing time.

“I’m very confident in those guys,” said Durkin of his reserves along the defensive line. “The way we practice and prepare and test our guys every day, I feel confident with every guy we have running out there.

“I think our guys understand there is a standard in our room that we have to play up to. They know that. Not just coming from myself and our staff but also from the other players in our room. They hold those guys accountable and to the standard.

“We recruit great players here and their job is to come in when their number’s called, get in there and play.”

Photo Credit: CBS Sports


  1. JoshuaPrime says:

    This is terrible news

  2. Michael Jones says:

    I’m dumbfounded. I can’t remember that last time that I saw injuries hit a team this hard. I would consider Chaz Green and Andre Debose pretty big time losses as well.

    Thought this might be a magical season . . and maybe it still will be. . but, wow. . man.

  3. MAR says:

    Brutal. DE has my full respect for his ability, his commitment to the team and education, and his positive attitude. He is definitely one of the good guys (same with JD). Happy healing to both of them! This team will rally. Go Gators!!

  4. GatorGrad98 says:

    What’s so sad about this is Easley’s tweet… Makes it sound like he may be done with football altogether. So heartbreaking for him knowing first round draft pick is all folks have been saying since the season began… I’m going to miss watching him play!!!

    • Tractorr says:

      Hopefully, that tweet simply meant that he was done with football at Florida. It would indeed be a very sad day if he were done with football forever.

  5. W says:

    Absolutely heartbreaking. It’s especially tough to see someone go through this who has worked so hard to come back from a previous injury, played his ass off, become a true fan favorite, and represents a great deal about what’s right with UF and this program. Really wish him the best in recovering from this.

  6. caligator says:

    Wow. I will truly miss his energy on the field this season. A true spark and leader on a team that needs BOTH desperately. Speedy recovery and GO GATORS!

  7. Ken (CA) says:

    What a shame. I was really hopeful earlier when the coaches downplayed it that made his tweet was just a fear that something might be really wrong, even though I expected it to be bad based on the tweet. It certainly hurts but we still have a lot of great players who will get good experience, and at least it happened before UK rather than LSU or such, get some PT for the inexperienced behind him in a game with a mediocre team.

  8. KB says:

    While he is a true freshman I think the DT currently on UFs roster that could provide the quick get off and disruptive force on the D-line could be Caleb Brantley. Not sure how he had done in practice or if he has played at all this year but some of the things that were said about him as a recruit when scouted were very similar to what DE has provided during his career at UF. DE is a tough act to follow and this really sucks for him and the fans who enjoyed watching him play. Not going to be the same without him and the energy he brought to that defense. Hopefully, as a collective group the gap left in wake of his loss will be filled adequately.

  9. Alex says:

    Easley is the most important piece of our D; he is the best DL I’ve seen in a long time. Damn shame

  10. Connor Gentry says:

    It is a shame that this happened, but I do believe the team will rally and play very well. I don’t see why Florida can’t finish the rest of this season undefeated.

    As for Easley wanting to be a “Gator Great”.. He definitely is in my book. He has made a tremendous difference. Great player, hate to see this happen. To him and Driskel. Hope they have speedy recoveries and can play in the future if they so desire.

  11. Gilbert says:

    what ever happen to DT Caleb Brantley?? why his name not been mention other then Jay-nard Bostwick lining up in rotation with Easley out.

  12. Luke says:

    Adam, does a medical redshirt apply to Easley for some of the same reasons it applied to Driskel? His tweet made it sound like he’ll try to rehab and go to the draft… is that the case or any thoughts there?

  13. TC says:

    He hasn’t played yet this year, coaches had hoped to redshirt him

  14. kinggator says:

    Everybody has to step up now, and more so,the offense we gotta rally

Join The

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux