December 25, 2013

Anonymous Player Parting Thoughts, Part IV

Each year, Inside the Gators fills its offseason coverage with our "Parting Thoughts" series, a collection of interviews with departing seniors and early-entry juniors recapping their time at Florida.

For the second year in a row, we have decided to open the series with something a little different. We asked an anonymous player to share his thoughts on a wide variety of topics regarding the current state of the Gators. From assessment of individual players to a big-picture look at the major issues facing Florida football, no topic was off-limits in this five-part interview.

As an aside, allowing a player to comment anonymously obviously has its benefits and downsides. The goal of this is to give the reader an honest and freely expressive look inside the Gators' locker room, but we also acknowledge the nature of anonymous comments and the stigma that can come with them.

Today, we discuss the most prominent seniors and take a look at early-entry juniors.

Wide receiver Trey Burton: "Trey is a real likeable guy. I don't think anybody is going to tell you any different. He's played a whole bunch of football here and done a lot of good things. He's just one of those guys you hate to see go. You wish you could have him back or have a couple more just like him because he's just such a great guy and a great overall football player. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, fullback, all kinds of special teams stuff."

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley: "That was a really big blow because he was the heartbeat of the defense. He was obviously a high-motor guy when he came into practice and every game. He practiced his nuts off every day. When we lost him, that was big. That was real big. I hope that he's able to come back from that and do well for himself because he's a great player and he's a game-changer. It really hurt us defensively when he went down, not having him out there."

-- Best example of Easley's colorful personality: "When we were in the hotel, back during camp, we'd have 6 a.m. practice. We'd get waken up by air horn at 4:30. The coaches would always come and start beating on the doors. I remember it was a real early morning wake-up and they beat on the door, and I went to open the door. About that time, they opened Easley's door and he comes bouncing out. He was just sitting out there in the hall at 4:30 in the morning dancing around and grabbing the air horn and blowing the air horn. That's just the kind of guy he was, always having fun."

Offensive linemen Jonotthan Harrison and Jon Halapio: "They obviously started a lot of games for us in their careers and those are two guys were going to miss. Harry was a three-year starter for us and Halapio started a bunch of games, so we're definitely going to miss those guys. We're going to need some of the younger guys to step up and take their spots."

Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs: "Dame is a real likeable guy. Again, he's kind of quiet and goes about his business. He struggled a little bit early on last year. He came in and wasn't quite in shape and had some trouble adjusting to the speed and tempo of things, but he played a good bit for us this year. I think Dame had a real good year this year. He hurt his knee early on and was fighting through that, but once he got back, he had a really good year for us."

Wide receiver Solomon Patton: "Solo really worked hard in the offseason to get stronger and everything. He knew he needed to step up. He was a senior and he needed to step up and try to be the guy. That being said, it took everybody by surprise how good of a year he had and some of the games he had. You look at him, he's a small guy. But it's a credit to him for how good of a year he had and how hard he worked in the offseason to get himself ready for that."

Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy: "He had one heck of a year (in 2012). He played his balls off last year on special teams, defense and he was a real difference-maker for us. This year, he had some off-the-field stuff going on that was out of his control, and he had a really bad attitude for the majority of the year. He didn't take coaching very well. It felt like he already had one foot out the door. He knew he was going pro after this season. It just didn't seem like he was the same player this year as he was last year for whatever reason. It did seem like he had a foot out the door and he had a bad attitude the majority of the year."

Defensive back Jaylen Watkins: "Jaylen is a good guy. I really like him. He's quiet, just goes about his business. He switched positions out of need after losing Josh Evans and Matt Elam last year. That was a really unselfish move on his part. He still played some corner for us this year at times. That definitely helped us out, him knowing both of those spots and being able to play them both in a game."

On if he sees Marcus Roberson and/or Ronald Powell leaving early: "No. I would expect both of them to come back. I haven't heard anything on the two of them, but based on - Roberson missed several games this year with injury and Powell was coming back off the ACL. I feel like both of them will come back next year and be able to help us out."

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