David in 2012
|No. 54 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
January 23, 1990 |
|Height:||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight:||233 lb (106 kg)|
|High school:||Miami (FL) Northwestern|
|NFL Draft:||2012 / Round: 2 / Pick: 58|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 10, 2017|
|Player stats at PFR|
Lavonte David (born January 23, 1990) is an American football linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Nebraska, and was drafted by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
High school career
A native of Miami, Florida, David attended Northwestern High School, where he was a teammate of Marcus Forston, Anthony Gaitor, Jacory Harris, Sean Spence, Tommy Streeter, and Brandon Washington. Northwestern won back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007, and was listed as mythical national champions by USA Today in 2007. Regarded as only a two-star prospect by Rivals.com, David was not highly recruited.
David originally signed with Middle Tennessee State, but then decided to attend Fort Scott Community College. David led Fort Scott Community College to the Junior College National Championship Game, while ranking among the conference's leaders in tackles and tackles for loss. He was also a two-time first-team All-Jayhawk Conference selection and a Region VI All-American in 2009. David was the defensive most valuable player of the 2009 national championship game against Cam Newton-led Blinn. David racked up 12 tackles, including sacking Newton on the game's final defensive play, before Fort Scott lost on a punt return for a touchdown. During his first season at Fort Scott, led the Jayhawk Conference with 93 tackles.
In 2010, he transferred to Nebraska, where he set the school's single-season record for tackles with 152, in his first year with the team. In a game against South Dakota State, David recorded a career-high 19 tackles, the seventh- most in school history. After the season, David was named first-team All-American by Rivals.com and CBS, unanimous first-team Big 12 and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, as selected by the coaches.
As a senior, led Nebraska with 133 tackles and ranked third in the Big Ten in tackles per game. Also led Nebraska in tackles for loss (13.0), sacks (5.5), interceptions (2), forced fumbles (2) and fumble recoveries (2) in 2011. At the conclusion of the season, he was named First Team All-Big Ten by both the coaches and media. He was also the winner of the inaugural Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year, awarded to the best linebacker in the Big Ten.
David started all 27 games he played in at Nebraska (2010–11), recording 285 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 12 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered. His 285 career tackles rank fourth in school history, and most by a two-year player.
2012 NFL Draft
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40‑yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20‑ss||3‑cone||Vert jump||Broad||BP|
|6 ft 1 in
|31 3⁄4 in
|8 3⁄4 in
|4.65 s||1.56 s||4.22 s||7.28 s||36.5 in
|9 ft 11 in
|All values from NFL Combine|
Projected to be a second-to-third round selection by Sports Illustrated, David was graded as the No. 10 outside linebacker available in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was described as a "terrific football player with a complete game, but [with] size limitations." David was eventually selected in the second round, 58th overall, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was the highest selected Cornhuskers linebacker since Barrett Ruud in 2005. David's draft stock was said to have slipped because many scouts thought he was undersized for a linebacker and also lacked some of the intangibles to play the position.
Talking about returning to his home state of Florida, David said: "I traveled all over the Midwest, and I really haven't had a chance to play back in Florida,". "It's great to have an opportunity to play in Tampa, four hours up the road from Miami."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David was drafted to fill a need at linebacker after the departure of Geno Hayes. Tampa Bay also didn't get a lot of big plays from its linebackers in the 2011 season and David was expected to be starting on the outside with Quincy Black and Mason Foster.
During his first training camp with the Buccaneers, the linebacker drew praise from the coaching staff, including Head Coach Greg Schiano who designed David as a Buccaneer man. "He's our kind of guy, Schiano said, on August 3, 2012. "Loves it. Prepared. Unselfish.'’
In his first professional game, David made his presence felt against the Miami Dolphins, notching a tackle for loss and an interception off quarterback Matt Moore in the second quarter, on a tipped ball by defensive tackle Frank Okam. About his NFL debut, Greg Schiano said "He's done a real good job since he started," "He flew around out there, and he looked comfortable. I was happy for him to do it in his hometown, too."
David quickly made an impact with the Bucs who immediately handed a lot of responsibility over to the second-round pick out of Nebraska. David, starting on the weak side, led the team with six tackles in a 16–10 win over the Panthers, his first NFL regular season game, impressing with his instinctive and aggressive play.
"I've been pleased – he's a really good football player," Coach Schiano said. "He's a very mature guy, a good learner. And he has some really good traits, skills. We're fortunate to have him."
The Bucs also trusted David enough to give him the green-dot helmet transmitter through which coaches can talk to him, making him responsible for making defensive calls.
He was named Defensive Rookie of the Month for November, the first Buccaneers to win the award, after amassing a league-leading 47 tackles in just four games. David's 98 tackles (18 solo) led the Buccaneers for the season, and had him eighth league-wide in the 2012 season. He also led all NFL rookies in tackles.
The big month for David was evidenced by big performances in Week 9 against the Oakland Raiders (16 tackles) and in Week 10 against the San Diego Chargers (14 tackles). David rolled up five tackles for loss in the month of November.
He registered a team-leading 139 tackles, which tied London Fletcher and Paul Posluszny for eighth in the league. He started all 16 games at outside linebacker for the Buccaneers in 2012. David also posted 20 tackles-for-loss, the most by a rookie since Kendrell Bell in 2001.
Talking about the 2013 season, the second year linebacker said: “It’s a lot different,” David said. “I have one year under my belt on this defense. I’m learning more about it, not only my position, but others guys’ positions as well.” “Not getting calls to everybody, not being all locked in, worrying about what everyone else is doing instead of doing my job,” David said. “That’s one thing I want to work on, get the calls out quicker and make sure everybody knows what to do.”
Talking about his leadership abilities, coach Schiano said "I think it helps a lot, at this time last year, he was still learning the calls. He's the communicator. He makes the defensive calls. Now, that's like second nature to him. Now, he understands the defense and he makes the adjustments. Lavonte is a very, very cerebral football player as well as being fast and tough and all those other things. He gets the whole game and he's only going to get better as he spends more and more time in the system. He's an impressive player.'’
David said he was entering the season with one simple goal: “Just don’t have a setback,’’ David said. “Everybody says the second year is where you fall off. I’m just trying to get better and keep myself from getting complacent and just try to add on to what I did last year.’’
During opening day against the New York Jets on September 8, 2013, David achieved notoriety for a late hit against Geno Smith out of bounds at the end of a scramble that would have put the Jets, who had no timeouts, on the Tampa 45-yard line with 15 seconds to play. The Jets ended up having game-winning field goal instead. The play wasn't malicious as Smith had just stepped out and David explained after the game that he thought Smith was going to stay in bounds before he delivered the blow.
"I wouldn't have hit him if I thought he wasn't going to stay in bounds,” David said "They said he was out of a bounds so the guy called the flag. To me, he was in bounds." On September 12, 2013, David was fined $7,875 for his late hit on Smith.
On November 27, 2013, David was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after a great performance against the Lions, the latest in a string of strong performances. His 5.0 sacks and two interceptions on the season, made him one of just six players in franchise history to post those totals in a season along with defensive end Gaines Adams, cornerback Ronde Barber, defensive end Simeon Rice, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Broderick Thomas.
On January 3, 2014, Lavonte David was named 2013 First-Team All-Pro. During the regular season, David tallied a total of 145 tackles (107 solo), 7 sacks, 5 interceptions, 10 passes defensed, 12 quarterback hurries, a safety and 2 forced fumbles. David's 20 tackles-for-loss in 2013 ranked 3rd in the NFL behind defensive ends Robert Quinn and J. J. Watt who registered 23 and 22, respectively. Despite those numbers, David did not make the Pro Bowl team for 2013. David finished the year one of only two players in NFL history to record 100 tackles, 6 sacks and 5 interceptions in a season. The other was safety Rodney Harrison.
In 2014, new Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith, who replaced Greg Schiano, compared David to Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks. Brooks played for the Buccaneers during his entire career and Smith, who had coached him in the late 1990s said that David was a younger version of Brooks. During his 2014, which was also his first season in the new "Tampa 2" system installed by Lovie Smith, David put up great numbers with 146 combined tackles (101 solo), one sack, four forced fumbles, and three passes defensed. Per NFL analysts and his coaches, David has shown to be one of the best 4-3 linebackers in the league. With his strong performance this season David was named as an alternate for the 2015 Pro Bowl though he would not get the chance to play when all linebackers selected would participate.
On August 9, 2015, David agreed to a five-year, $50.25 million contract extension with $25.56 million guaranteed with the Buccaneers. Following the season David, who was a first team alternate, made his first Pro Bowl appearance as a result of the Denver Broncos advancing to the Super Bowl. He was ranked 53rd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.
David started all 16 games in 2016, recording a career-low 87 tackles to go along with five sacks, four passes defensed, four forced fumbles and one interception.
On September 17, 2017, in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, David recovered a Mike Glennon fumble, which set up the Buccaneers on a eventual touchdown scoring drive.
While at Nebraska, David volunteered his time with the team to hospital visits and the Husker Heroes program. In December 2012, David led students through football drills and promoted the importance of health and fitness for the opening of BUCS CARE School Fitness Zones at two local Elementary schools. In the same month, the linebacker also visited youth at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and sang holiday carols to residents at Westminster Palms retirement home in December 2012. In June 2012, David visited MacDill Air Force Base in Downtown Tampa to tour a hurricane aircraft, witness a military dog training session, and thank civilian workers and active duty military for their service.
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- NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 - No. 53 Lavonte David
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