Easley growing from ‘trash-talker' to leader

Florida's defensive line flickers. Towards its edge, there's a spark that crackles loudly. It lights up the field with energy, with a certain fire. Up until this year, that spark has been the loose cannon — letting its mouth run and the penalties pile. There is one guy that is known for his outspokenness and spitfire-attitude on the field, and he's learning to control his burn.

Dominique Easley, a junior who stems from Staten Island, N.Y., has matured greatly from when he first came to campus, according to fellow defensive lineman Omar Hunter.

Hunter said Easley, whom he pins as the "biggest trash talker" he has ever been around, never had trouble being vocal on the field. But it was the words Easley spit out that proved to be the problem.

For example, when a teammate would make a mistake, Hunter said Easley had a tendency to yell at the player. Now, Easley is vocalizing motivation to his teammates rather than blame.

"He has always been vocal, but now he's saying the right stuff," Hunter said.

In addition to pumping up his teammates, Hunter said Easley's growing maturity could be seen in his lack of penalties this season — specifically when it comes to jumping offsides.

However Easley's flagging fire isn't completely out — it's just dimmed. In Saturday's 37-20 win over the Vols, Easley was flagged for roughing a passer in the third quarter. But Easley and his team's collective energy in the second half proved to move Florida to that late-blooming victory.

Teammate Loucheiz Purifoy said he could tell the defensive line got a new pop of energy Saturday because Easley started to dance more on the field.

Easley ended up walking away from the win against Tennessee with an assisted tackle as well as a left knee injury. In this week's SEC teleconference Wednesday, Coach Will Muschamp said Easley's status for Saturday's matchup against Kentucky was "questionable" due to swelling on his knee.

The junior has been a key force on the defensive line during his time at Florida, totaling 49 tackles in the 21 games he's played in to date. Three games deep into this season, Easley has chalked up eight tackles and one sack and according to Hunter, a dose of maturity.

"He has grown up so much," Hunter said of Easley. "He knows exactly what he's doing. He's a good guy on and off the field. I'm very proud of all the success he has had."

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