Once he returned from a knee injury after missing Weeks 3-5, it didn’t take long for Devin White to establish himself as not just the best rookie that the Bucs had, but rather one of the most impactful players on Tampa Bay’s defense.

White capped off an impressive rookie year by winning Defensive Rookie Of The Month in November and December. We saw the type of player that White can be by season’s end, but if you ask him, he knew he was going to be great from day one.

One thing about me is I got all the confidence in the world in my ability,” White said. “I always know when I walk in the room, it don’t matter what type of people, I could be at the Kentucky Derby, I could be at a room full of millionaires, billionaires, I could be in a room with Christians or this type of person and I know I belong because I’m a great guy and I know whatever that I’m trying to achieve I’m going to work super hard at it.

“I’m going to dedicate myself to it so when I know it’s time to perform or time to be around that group of people, I know I belong. The minute I stepped in the locker room and we got ready for rookie minicamp and then went into OTAs I already was comfortable, I felt good. The thing it was was just taking the next step. I always had the confidence in myself.”

Bucs ILB Devin White and SS Jordan Whitehead
Bucs ILB Devin White and SS Jordan Whitehead – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It’s the utmost confidence that White possesses that also makes him believe that the Bucs’ defense is the best part of the team, even after the Bucs added Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to the offense in 2020. White wants the Bucs defense to be the one who’s finishing games.

“I still feel that [way],” White said. “Before we signed Tom or Gronk, both of those guys, me and coach Bowles – we always said in the offseason as we’ve been talking and preparing that we were gonna be the ones to carry the team, the team is gonna go as far as we go. We got to always want to put the game on our back. We want it to come down to that the offense is going to score, we got to stop the other team. We want the game to be on us at the end of the game because we know we’re gonna come through, we just know that much about ourself, we believe that much in ourself as far as a defensive unit and everybody saw what we did last year and that was our first year together with a new coaching staff and everything, new players, young players, a couple vets and now we want to build off that.

Besides his overwhelming confidence, White prides himself on two other big components – preparation and self motivation. As he gets ready for the 2020 season, White is looking to learn more each day and become the player that other teammates look to for advice.

“That was my biggest thing is I wanted to always be treated like a vet last year because I always feel like prepared like a vet,” White said. “I put in the time and I know it started paying off when I came back from my injury. As far as the offseason, I just kind of became closer with my inside linebacker coach and becoming more of a student of the game so I can better control stuff when I’m on the field and guys can lean on me in certain situations.

“I know that guys that usually tend to play the best ball usually be the smartest guys on the field. I try to make sure I establish myself as one of the smartest guys on the field when I’m playing ball.”

When it comes to motivation, that has always come from within. So if the NFL finds itself in a situation where there can’t be fans in attendance because of the coronavirus, it shouldn’t be a problem for the former LSU linebacker.

Bucs ILB Devin White
Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“At the end of the day I’m a football player,” White said. “I love playing football and so I don’t need all the hullabaloo to make me go out and make a play, I thrive off my own motivation, my own mindset. I just want to be dominate, just want to have fun because football is fun so I think I thrive off myself, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem. A crowd makes you play better, but that can’t be the only thing.”

No matter what facet of the game it is, White is constantly looking to make himself a better football player than he was before.

“The thing is I just can’t never get complacent,” White said. “And that’s one thing about me, I study the game, I reach out to a lot of people, I’m always trying to find ways to get better because I know as far as my game, there’s no ceilings. I can keep getting better and better because somebody is going to find my weakness and I’ma have to get better so I’m out to find my own weakness and try to extort my own weakness before somebody else does it on Sunday. I’m always looking to get better.

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Captain Sly

Suits me just fine! September thru November belongs to the Offense but come January we better unleash this Defense on teams in the playoffs. That’s when it matters…

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BucRy

Future all pro.

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ScottC543

Absolutely. The sky is the limit for this guy.

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Spitfire

I’m glad he’s confident, it turned me off pre draft but confidence is fine as long as you back it up. I don’t necessarily like the “I wanted to be treated like a Vet my Rookie Year” Comment. Expecting respect before you earn it is bullshiz. If he meant he prepared hard so he wouldn’t be treated like a Roomie then that’s all good. When I was a Rookie Firefighter, I got s**t on hard but it taught me what was expected out of me. Having a fancy college degree didn’t mean anything, I had to earn my stripes in… Read more »

NC Greenbeard

Agree that you gotta earn the respect regardless of profession! I think we have a good (if not thin) defense. Hopefully we can stay healthy and continue the progress of the young secondary. White should be a beast again this year.

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We could be top 5 on both sides of the ball. Special teams worries me. We may need starters on our not so special unit,to offset inconsistent kicker. return & coverage teams will be important to our success.

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MichBuc

Carry the Bucs? I believe we’ll be good on BOTH sides of the ball. I love Devin White, it’s pretty cool to have an ILB that had a better 40 time (4.42) that all of the top 10 rushers in the NFL in 2019.

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bucballer

Is PR ever going to acknowledge the very annoying software glitch at the end of every post? Or is it u just don’t care? I know u guys been so busy being in self quarantine and all! Fix it already!

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BUC-ASS-BOB

Last year I felt White was one year from making a impact, good news it’s been one year and he is ready to make a impact,
In collage he used speed to make up for technical sound play.
The NFL requires technic which he now will be able couple with that speed after a year with Bucs.
This defense will be rested more than the past they should be top 5 D.

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surferdudes

If Tom keeps his interceptions below 30, that will greatly help the defense.

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Naplesfan

Tom Brady’s interceptions have never been remotely close to 30 in a season. The most picks he’s ever thrown in a season was 14 vs. 28 TDs. He’s averaged just under 9 INTs per season over 20 years, with 8 INTs last year.

You are referring to Jameis Winston’s interceptions of 30 last season.

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fredster

He didn’t make impact last year? Your still an idiot BAB’s. I guess voted best rookie defensive player November and December wasn’t an impact? He was injured early in the year too genius.

I also remember all your stupid talk about how he wouldn’t be good and holding out for money. Like anyone gives rats ass about rookie contracts but you.

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drdneast

What u said Fredster. I concur.

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BUC-ASS-BOB

This reply from Fredster the wizard that was all in on using the tag which paid 30 million to keep Jameis the 30 int master, who now playing 3rd string at min NFL salary Fredster was also the brilliant brain all against bring Brady to Bucs!!

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Dave

Jameis isn’t getting league minimum. And he’ll only be 3rd string on gamedays if Brees and Hill are healthy. If Brees goes down mid game, the next game, Jameis(Not Hill), will be the starting QB.

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Naplesfan

Of course members of the defense want to believe they will carry the team. But it is ridiculous to claim that it will happen when the team has what will likely be the best offense in the league, at worst a top 5 offense, based upon the talent, past perfomance, current health, and current coaching. But if the defense can deliver all season at the level they did late last season, it too can be a top 10 defense and combined with a great offense, put the Bucs in serious contention for a Super Bowl championship at the end of… Read more »

FireLichtMovement

Read an awesome statistic on ESPN, that when JPP, Shaq Barrett and Suh are in the field together, the Bucs pressure the QB on 34% of dropbacks. If that were over an entire season, it would rank as 2nd in the NFL. Fantastic stat, and here’s hoping everyone stays healthy this year.

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matador

If only we had a GM who could draft players of that caliber on defense. White has potential to be a difference maker, and maybe Vea but in six years he hasn’t drafted any other players you’d call a difference maker on defense.

Let that sink in. And that’s despite drafting near the top of each round every year because of the team he put on the field. Hooray for Jason Bust Licht!

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Dman

A dominant defense carrying a Buccaneer team? How GREAT would that be!!! Tradition!!!

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Dave

This is the Tom Brady effect. Not that I think players ever quit on the team, or weren’t passionate about winning before. But when you get a player of his caliber with his championship pedigree, it ignites the fire in players that might have gotten complacent, or maybe partly accepted losing, or even figured that they wouldn’t go 100% on every play trying to think about a future contract, instead of giving it 110% on every single play for a losing team. It just happens in the NFL. Players like Brady make you want to give more effort than the… Read more »

FireLichtMovement

The return of JPP really boosted this defense. Emotional leader coupled with Pro Bowl play on the field imo, made JPP the MVP of this Bucs defense. Let’s just hope there are no more fireworks incidents, or car accidents in his future.

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plopes808

I’m loving the confidence, but I don’t see any scenario where the defense will have to carry this team. At worst, it’ll be 50/50, our offense has never had a problem putting up points and I don’t see that becoming a problem this year.

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Matthew Shishkoff

I love this insight from White, his confidence alone creates hope for the Bucs that they will be dominant on defense. From the looks of this Buccaneers Outlook here https://prosportsoutlook.com/outlooks/?league=nfl&team=2495, the Bucs have some amazing talent on defense to work with. I agree with this article when mentioned that the defense will be the side to close games and solidify a win. But looking at the Bucs Outlook, you can’t ignore that amazing offense either, this team is looking set for a successful season.

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