Noah Spence, the Buccaneers second-round selection, knows that no matter how often he assures people that the drug issues are in the past, the doubters won’t quiet until he proves he can make it as a professional. He’s anxious to silence them.
“I wanted to show everybody that I’m on a straight and narrow path and ready to do all I can with football,” Spence said, via a conference call moments after the selection.
“Football’s my life. I never want to have that taken away from me again, so you don’t have to worry about me doing anything that will allow that to happen.”
When looking only at his on-field resume, Spence would appear to fit the mold of a first-round prospect.
Spence took the Big 10 by storm his sophomore year in 2013, leading the Buckeyes with eight sacks and adding 52 tackles with 14.5 for loss. He dominated his final year at Eastern Kentucky, after being banned by the Big 10 for two failed drug tests, with 63 tackles, including 22.5 for loss, and 11.5 sacks.
It was football that made him realize he needed to turn his life around after sophomore year.
“I had to realize what I love, and what I love is football,” Spence said. “I had to do what I had to do to be able to have it.”
Throughout the draft process, Spence felt a connection to Tampa Bay. He said that defensive line coach Jay Hayes reminded him of his dad, the man he repeatedly credited at the Combine for helping him get his life in order. He also mentioned his good friend, Jameis Winston, who he first met at the All-American high school game and stayed in contact with through the good times and bad.
At the end of the day, Spence said that his problems were due to immaturity, not long-term habits or lack of passion for the game.
“I’ve never been a bad person,” he said. “I’ve always respected people. I always respect my elders, try to be a good person off the field, but I got caught up in some things that were immature and I paid the consequences.”
He certainly paid the consequences in college and proved himself enough to warrant a Top 40 section. Tampa Bay could have a steal if he continues at this rate.
“I thought I was the best,” Spence said, asked whether he thought he was the top defensive end. “We’ll see after the season.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Pick Tampa. Remember Bucs Fans Warren Sapp had problems coming out of College. He will show the rest of the Nfl some teams will kick themselves by not selecting him-Go Bucs
Noah, welecome to Tampa and lets get to work. We need you. Go Bucs!
Right on George and Horse!
As far as I’m concerned, this is a fresh start.
A big need filled. Welcome.
Mature comments from Spence. I am glad he’s a Buc and look forward to the new defensive line featuring great depth.
Great pick, welcome to Tampa Noah!
Rooting for you Noah as is my son Noah!
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