The team’s interest in White had been reported on and documented thoroughly throughout the pre-draft process, though some mock drafts had others potentially being selected at No. 5. Still, most mocks had White as the pick.
Sure enough, after Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams and Clelin Ferrell went in the first four picks, the Bucs selected White at No. 5.
Feel however you want about it, but it’s not changing. Devin White is a Buc. Here are three things to know about the newest Tampa Bay linebacker:
He LOVES horses. He has seven of them.
There was probably a better way to lead this off. Wait, who am I kidding? No, there wasn’t. This is awesome. White’s love for horses is well-known by now, and why shouldn’t it be? His seven horses — including Ricky Bobby (his first) and Daisy Mae (his newest) — are his “children.” While he was at LSU, White kept Daisy Mae at a nearby stable in Baton Rouge, and family members took care of the other six back home in Springhill.
White tends to his horses as a distraction from the rigors of football. From a January NCAA.com article:
“I feel like I’m in heaven on earth when I’m with my horses. No distractions, no phones, no football,” White said. “Just me and my horse, we’re taking a stroll and working on getting better. Because at the end of the day, my horse has to get better too. Because my horse has to perform at a certain weight. So if I take a day off, my horse starts lacking. So I have to keep my horse up to date.”
And of course White got in on the craze surrounding Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (more specifically, the remix that includes Billy Ray Cyrus):
Don’t worry, ESPN’s Jenna Laine has already reported that three horses will be making their way to Tampa with the newest Buc. Daisy Mae, Overdrive and Taylor Mae are Bucs now too.
White had an EXTREMELY decorated career at LSU
Of course, the fact that White was drafted at No. 5 — as an inside linebacker, nonetheless — makes it obvious that he can flat-out play. But his success on the field at LSU was accompanied by a ridiculous number of accolades. In three years with the Tigers, the 6-foot, 237-pounder racked up 286 tackles (114 solo), 8.5 sacks, nine passes defended, one interception, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Numbers don’t even tell the full story.
In 2016, White was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team by the conference’s coaches. That was just the start, as he went on to have a breakout year in 2017. As a team captain, he picked up 133 tackles (13.5 for loss) and 4.5 sacks, earning him team MVP honors. On top of that, he earned First-Team All-SEC honors and was a Second-Team All-American. Throughout the season, he earned four SEC Defensive Player of the Week Awards. In 2018, he was once again a team captain and once again earned team MVP honors. He won the Butkus Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top linebacker. Along with that, he was a First-Team All-American and a selection to the All-SEC First Team.
White finished off his college career on a high note. Instead of sitting out the Tigers’ bowl game, he suited up in the purple and gold one last time. In LSU’s 40-32 Fiesta Bowl win over UCF, White totaled eight tackles, a pass defended and a forced fumble.
White originally signed with LSU as a running back
White played both linebacker and running back at North Webster High School in Springhill, Louisiana. According to 247Sports, he had 31 total scholarship offers coming out of high school. He picked LSU over the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma. All of those offers from elite programs aren’t surprising for a guy who is now an NFL linebacker. But according to his lsusports,net bio, White originally joined the Tigers as a running back.
In his high school career, White rushed for 5,031 yards and 81 touchdowns. His transition to being a full-time linebacker in college was obviously a smooth one. Athletic ability was consistently one of the top “strengths” for White throughout the NFL Draft process, and he further proved at the NFL Scouting Combine that just because he’s no longer a running back doesn’t mean he’s lost his speed. He ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash, which was the best time of any linebacker in the class.
White’s speed and overall athleticism make him a heck of a prospect, one that obviously caught the attention of Bucs general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians. Growing up, White looked up to great NFL linebackers like Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis. Interestingly enough, Ed Orgeron — White’s coach at LSU — coached both Willis and Lewis. Coach O had this to say about White in comparison to the two NFL legends:
“I’ve been a part of Ray Lewis, I’ve been a part of Patrick Willis, and he’s right in that group. No question, one of the best I’ve ever been a part of, as far as a middle linebacker and I still think he’s going to get better. I think he’s going to have a tremendous pro career.”
That’s some high praise for White, who will look to make an immediate impact on the Buccaneer defense in 2019.
You can find Devin White on Twitter at @DevinWhite_40. Take some time to congratulate him and welcome him to Tampa Bay.