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Monday September 30, 2013 Easley will enter NFL Draft once he completes rehab on injured knee

Updated: 3:53pm, September 30

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley pressures Tennessee quarterback Nate Peterman in UF's 31-17 win.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators coach Will Muschamp confirmed Monday what many suspected: Dominique Easley will enter next year’s NFL Draft.

A true senior, Easley suffered a right knee injury near the end of practice Tuesday night. He will miss the rest of the season.

Having played in less than 30 percent of Florida’s games by season’s end, Easley could have applied to the SEC in December for a fifth year of eligibility and earned a redshirt per NCAA rules.

However, Muschamp said Easley plans to move on and test his position in the draft.

“He's a guy that's had two [torn] ACLs,’’ Muschamp said. “You know, I think that's the best move for him right now and going to prepare himself for April and get ready for that. He and I talked briefly about it and that's what he wants to do and I support it 100 percent.”

In 32 career games, Easley recorded 72 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks, one fumble recovery and a blocked kick.

Easley was off to an excellent start when his right knee buckled in a non-contact situation.

Despite two ACL injuries at Florida – Easley suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the final game of his sophomore season in 2011 – Muschamp expects the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive tackle to garner plenty of attention in the draft.

He recently projected as a high first-rounder according to some mock-draft analysts.

"He'll be a productive guy on the next level,’’ Muschamp said. “He's a really good football player. He's extremely intelligent. He gets the game. His tape speaks for itself and how he plays the game and approaches the game. He'll be fine. There will be a lot of organizations that want him in their organization."

Meanwhile, Muschamp said he is uncertain if fifth-year senior receiver Andre Debose will apply for an extra year of eligibility. Debose suffered a season-ending torn ACL early in fall camp.

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