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“I’m just a big, goofy, teddy bear guy"

GAINESVILLE -- “I’m just nice to everybody. It’s crazy though, because on the football field, I probably say some things and people will be looking at me like, ‘What?’ And I’m like, ‘Sorry, bro. It’s football.’”

Dante Fowler Jr., ladies and gentlemen. Florida’s menacing pass rusher -- a team-leading 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles -- is really just a big kid at heart with an infectious personality. 

Don't let Dominique Easley's infamous Chucky doll -- something Fowler Jr. lugs around in memory of his injured teammate -- fool you. 

“Look at me, I’m smiling right now,” Florida's sophomore defensive end said. “I like to play around and stuff like that. I just turned 19, so I just try to love life. I’m still a kid I’m not 21 yet. My mom still washes my clothes.”

Even while at school?

“When I go home. Now [at Florida] I have to. It sucks.”

Fowler Jr., a former five-star recruit, had a solid freshman campaign, but has exploded as a playmaking sophomore. Coach Will Muschamp praised the pass rusher's acceptance to coaching -- something the defensive end attributed to tough love from his dad, Dante Fowler Sr.

“Dante has a great personality. He’s a lot of fun to be around and coach. He’s a joy to coach,” Muschamp said. “He’s always got a smile on his face. You can coach Dante hard. Guys of his caliber sometimes are not approachable in that situation. He’s a guy that take coaching. He wants to be coached. He wants to be coached hard. When he makes a mistake he wants to know what he can do to get better. He’s just a very coachable player. That’s what makes him a really good player. God has blessed him with a lot of ability. But the flip side of that is the guys I’ve been around who are really, really good you can coach those guys. They’re willing to listen. They don’t think they have all the answers. They understand they have improvements to be made. He watches the film. He understands that good plays take care of themselves and negative plays are the ones he need to correct. He’ll correct them himself.”

In the clip, Fowler Jr. talks LSU’s shootouts, his Dad’s influence as a “coach,” “breaking his opponents” and more. 


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