College football recruits who sign with the Florida Gators have started carrying on a tradition — using a Chucky doll to make their announcements. Yes, Chucky, the murderous doll that comes to life from the late 1980s and ’90s movies. It may sound odd, but there’s a real reason for this — it’s a tribute to past Gators defensive linemen. The tradition was started in 2011 by former Gator Dominique Easley:
“When I was a freshman last year, when Ease had [Chucky], I used to be with him all the time. I used to kidnap [Chucky] from him and stuff like that. So he always came with me,” he explained.
“I used to go to [Easley’s] room and we’d just watch TV and I’d be like, ‘Alright, I’m leaving and taking [Chucky] with me.’ He’d say, ‘Where you going with him?’ I’ll be like, ‘No, I’m just going outside in the hallway.’ And then [Chucky] ends up spending the night with me and stuff like that.”
Easley was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, and has been with the LA Rams since 2016.
Former Florida defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., who was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars and is now with the LA Rams, carried on the tradition in 2013:
Since then we’ve seen a lot of players — both Gators and non-Gators — carry on the tradition coined by Fowler and Easley.
Former Auburn Tiger Byron Cowart committed to the Tigers with a Chucky doll, citing Easley and Fowler as the inspiration.
Miami ain’t been the same since the baby doll curse. S/O to Harrison pic.twitter.com/ybZbVgKrS1— Shoe Size 17 (@UnkleSilk) November 21, 2018
This one though was likely a troll directed at Florida — Cowart was targeted by the Gators, but ended up at Auburn. The irony here is that Auburn had recently hired former Gators coach Will Muschamp as its defensive coordinator.
Cowart ended up transferring to Maryland in 2017.
Four-star linebacker Andrew Chatfield picked Florida by donning a Gators cap and then holding up a Chucky doll on National Signing Day.
Chatfield said Fowler and Easley were the inspiration, too.
Shortly after Chatfield’s commitment, Chatfield’s teammate, linebacker Nesta Silvera, committed to Miami with the Chucky doll, too.
Current Gators players have kept the tradition, too. Chucky made an appearance before Florida’s game against Florida State:
C.J. Henderson and Jordan Scarlett enter Doak, guest starring Chucky. pic.twitter.com/bC2DIPlaBZ— Michael Phillips (@mikephillipsGT) November 24, 2018
Defensive end Lloyd Summerall announced he’d be signing with the Gators with a Chucky doll on his lap:
And right after, tight end Keon Zipperer did the same:
And most recently, four-star defensive end Khris Bogle flipped from Alabama to Florida complete with a Chucky doll:
Khris Bogle broke out the Chucky doll. pic.twitter.com/VdqUty5Uw6— (((Adam Lichtenstein))) (@ABLichtenstein) February 6, 2019
While this trend seems to be mostly continued by Florida players, it’s clear that going to Gainesville isn’t a requirement for using it. We’ll see how long the Chucky doll tradition lives on!