Video: Easley returning with new motivation

Before the Gators pace the gridiron on game day, Dominique Easley's famed staple rests tucked under his arm in the form of his beloved "Chucky" doll. This year, Easley's motivation is actually just a bit bigger than Chucky — for now. The rising senior and defensive end says his drive this season lies with his 4-month-old baby boy: Dominique Earl Easley II.

Easley's son was born in November, nearly one year after his father suffered a torn ACL in the Florida State game. It was an injury that would nag him early in the 2012 season — a season that could've been Easley's last with the Gators. Though the knee injury was nagging, it wasn't halting. UF's junior jersey printed with No. 2 played in 11 games, punching in a total of 26 tackles.

Dominique Easley said his decision of whether or not to hang up his orange and blue jersey in exchange for a spot in the NFL draft came right down to the wire. The Staten Island, N.Y., native said his choice was made the last day players were able to turn their papers in.

However, he said his mother wanted him to stay in school to finish his degree.

"She made me," Easley joked. "I have to do what she (says)."

Easley's mother's wishes paired with the birth of his son have the senior leading the Gators defensive line into the '13 season.

"I want to experience him talking," Easley said of his son. "I want to experience him walking and everything, so that played a big part (in me staying)."

As Florida is in the midst of spring practice, Easley said he is still wearing his knee brace or his "baby," but is still practicing fully — just with fewer reps than his teammates.

He said he's playing inside and outside the defensive line, but because of his inner fire, he prefers one to the other.

"I like inside more just for the fact that I like to fight a lot," he said. "There's more fight in the middle."

Check out the video below for more on Easley:


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