GAINESVILLE -- Star defensive tackle Dominique Easley is officially headed to the NFL in 2014, bypassing the chance to take a medical redshirt and play another season at Florida.
Easley, a dominating interior lineman, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in a non-contact drill during practice last Tuesday. Before the season-ending injury, Easley was rated the nation’s ninth-best draft eligible prospect according to ESPN Scouts Inc.
Coach Will Muschamp confirmed Easley’s plans, and said he supports the senior’s decision 100 percent.
“He's a guy that's had two ACLs,” Muschamp said. “That's the best move for him right now and going to prepare himself for April and get ready for that.”
GAME TIMES ANNOUNCED
No. 18 Florida (3-1, 2-0 SEC) and Arkansas (3-2, 0-1 SEC) will kickoff under the lights Saturday (7:00 p.m., ESPN2), UF’s first night game in The Swamp since its 2011 regular-season finale against Florida State.
Meanwhile, Florida’s highly-anticipated showdown with No. 10 LSU (4-1, 1-1 SC) in Death Valley (Oct. 12) has been tabbed the SEC’s Game of the Week. The Gators and Tigers will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Aside from a pair of dinged up tight ends, the Gators are no longer the walking wounded.
Backups Colin Thompson (foot) and Kent Taylor (ankle) are out against the Razorbacks, but Muschamp said, “other than that, we should be good to go.”
Hybrid tailback Valdez Showers (ankle) and starting cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) are expected to play after both missed Florida’s previous two games.
Roberson participated in pregame warmups against Kentucky and told Muschamp he wasn’t 100 percent but could play. Muschamp opted to rest the junior an additional week for precautionary reasons.
“Marcus is a team guy. He’ll do anything for the team, but I just didn’t feel comfortable putting him in that situation,” Muschamp explained. “He and I talked after he came off the field. I said, ‘Let’s ice you down and get ready for next week.’”
HARGREAVES EARNS HONOR
Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was named the SEC’s freshman of the week for his performance in Florida’s 24-7 over Kentucky.
Hargreaves picked off his third pass of the season and is now tied for the league lead.Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton