Below is a transcript from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' press conference with Head Coach Bruce Arians, General Manager Jason Licht and 2019 NFL Draft first-round pick Devin White. Full video of press conferences can be found on Buccaneers.com.
General Manager Jason Licht: "Good afternoon. Bruce and I, and the entire organization are beyond excited to have Devin and his family here today, and I'm just going to turn it over to Devin."
Devin White: "Hey, good afternoon everybody. First off, I want to say thank you to these two people (Licht and Bruce Arians) and to the whole [Glazer] family. You all did a great job and I'm glad that you all believe in me, and I'm giving thanks to God, because without him I wouldn't be here. I know you all probably have a lot of questions to ask me and I'm really ready to answer them."
(On White's opportunity to learn from players like Lavonte David)
White: "I mean, the opportunity to get to learn from him is second to none. I wouldn't want it any other way. He's a great player. He's been playing – I think he's going into his eighth season and he's a do-it-all player for his team and me playing next to him, behind him, whatever these guys see for me, I'm just willing and ready to do it."
(On what went through White's mind when he got the phone call)
White: "Yeah, so once the Raiders didn't take me at four, my man right here (Arians) told me; If you're on the board, I have to get you; So, I had that thought in the back of my mind and I knew he was a genuine guy and meant what he said, so once I saw 'Tampa, Florida' come across that phone it was like fireworks struck through my body. I can't even really tell you how I felt, but it was one of the greatest feelings ever - and I've had a lot of great moments in my life and this is first, top one out of everything. I'm so thankful and I couldn't be with a better organization. We're going to do great things and I'm excited for what's to come."
(On White experiencing the moment at the NFL Draft with his family)
White: "Oh, it was the best. I'm a very family-oriented guy and they've been supporting me since I was able to do anything. Just to show if you train a child up, you can reap the benefits in the future. And the benefit is just to see me happy. They don't want anything from me, but to see a big smile on my face, enjoying what I love and that's playing the game of football."
(On where White's leadership qualities came from)
White: "Yeah, so when I was growing up I was always thrown into a leadership role by being the best player. When I got to LSU, there were a lot of guys that were way better than me and those guys showed me just what you can do when you put in hard work and you don't say much. Guys will follow you just because you're doing it the right way. And I was really big on doing it the right way. I'm able to talk and come across to God very different, because I don't try to be cocky when I'm talking to guys, knowing a younger guy behind me like; I know I'm better than you, and I did more than you; I don't even try to portray that image. I just portray the image of, 'Hey I'm your brother and I want what's best for you; More people respect that about me."
(On how White looks up to other linebackers that played for LSU)
White: "Oh, well I say every linebacker that came through LSU, we're in this big group text message and we're always helping each other. Kendell Beckwith, Kwon [Alexander] obviously, Duke Riley, Deion Jones – but outside of them I had Leonard Fournette in my ear, Jamal Adams, two great players in this league and just many different pros, that [have] just been around the game. Bradie James is like my big brother, that's a guy who I always lean on when it comes to being a great pro, because he did it the right way. He's still in the game of football, he's is still keeping up with it. I just told him, 'Whatever you've got for me, just help me become a great person and an even better pro, just like you were."
(On if White has talked to the Glazers or Mike Alstott about wearing jersey number 40)
White: "That's a great question, but I haven't talked to him about it. I do know that, that's a great thing. I know the jersey number is retired and I'm really thankful for that, because if I did great in a jersey number and a team decides to retire my jersey number, that's a blessing and that just shows how great the Glazer family [is] and how much they love their players. I'm respectful of that. I want to just get here and be a part of this family first before I think about getting a jersey number. I've been 40 for a long time, I've been 24 - I've been other numbers. The number doesn't make me, the people around me make me. I have the greatest coaching staff in the NFL around to make me an even better player than I am now and that's what matters to me."
(On if White spoke with Kendell Beckwith or Kwon Alexander after being drafted)
White: "Man, those are some of the first guys that texted me. Kwon told me to just get under Lavonte [David's] hip, like he did when he got here and that we will talk soon. Kendell sent me a lengthy text, I'm just going to sum it up. It was mainly about, 'You've been great, you've been one of the best little brothers that I could ever ask for and you did it the right way. You stayed true to yourself. You are a country boy and you didn't hide it. You didn't care if anybody didn't like it or accept it, and I'm proud of you. There are a lot of good things that will come to you in the future and I want to be a part of that. I want to help you transition into the NFL and just let you know what to expect and just give you my input.' I'm thankful for that, because you have some players that wouldn't do that for their brothers, but my brothers are my brothers. That's why we call it the NFLSU, because it's like a fraternity, so you don't have to join one of those other fraternities. Once you get to the NFL you automatically get inducted into one."
(On what it was like to share the draft experience with Make-A-Wish kid Kacey Reynolds)
White: "So, my guy Kacey, man. I'm so happy he was able to put the pick in. That doesn't happen too often – the commissioner does it. One thing that I was telling my family last night is they know how big I am on helping kids and being in kids' life and being a great role model somebody they can look up to. Before the draft - probably nobody knows this - but only five prospects went to play football for the kids and I was one of those five players. That's just how big my heart is. When he came up there and he said my name, first thing I told him is, 'I thank you for saying my name, because without you I wouldn't be here,' because he put the pick in. So, I'm thankful for him. He rode up here on the jet, him and his family are great. They love the Buccaneers, through and through. They were telling me about some good places to eat at and some good cities I need to see. They asked me, 'How is Daisey Mae?' They just ask everything and I'm glad I got to meet them. I know this isn't the end of our relationship, we're going to stay in touch. It's a blessing to be a blessing to another person and Kacey if you don't know it, if I didn't say it, you were a blessing to me last night, which I think I told you a million times. I'm still thankful that you put that pick in for me."
(On what it was like seeing Kacey get the call that he's flying to Tampa with him)
White: "It meant the world. It meant the world to me, because I know it meant the world to him and I know that made him even happier than putting a pick in. So, he got the best of both worlds. He got to put a pick in – he was looking really, really good on TV last night with that blue on, I can say that. For him to get to get on the plane and fly here and enjoy this beautiful city that he's probably very familiar with [whereas] me, this is my second time coming out here. For us to experience this together – kind of mad that he already has a Bucs jersey on and I don't have one yet [laughs]. It's going to be fun and I hope he can come back for some games and support me, because you have a forever friend in me, my guy. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
Licht: "I already signed him to a contract."
White: "See, he even signed before me, golly. He knew I was going to be picked, before I knew I was going to be picked."
Head Coach Bruce Arians: "Pressure on you to get signed."
White: "Ok, well we're going to sign up soon then, because I'm not going anywhere, I can tell you that."
(On White's passion for giving back to the community)
White: "That just comes from being from a small town. That's all you've got. We have each other's back. Growing up, we never had the big prospect to go to LSU to look up to. We didn't have [anybody]. Anybody we looked up to, we couldn't get in contact with them. When I became a huge prospect, everybody knew I was going to go to college, but when I became this, 'likeable person' at LSU, I wanted to be different from what I was used to growing up. I wanted to be a person that if I came around, everybody knows, 'He's a big-time football player, but he's not a celebrity. He's a human being, just like me. I feel comfortable around him. He made a positive impact on my life.' That's the type of feedback that I like to get from people. Like, 'Devin, thank you for coming to my class today. The kids are going to work harder' – just by two words that I said. So I'm really big on that. I feel like that's where that comes from, not having that type of leadership in my life growing up."
(On if White had to stay an extra night in Tampa on his pre-draft visit)
White: "It's very true. That's why I say God makes no mistakes. I was supposed to go to New York right after I got finished with the great Buccaneers. I was going to do ESPN and NFL Live, so I needed to be there earlier than my visit with the Giants. I was sitting at the hotel – well the hotel is in the airport, so I was sitting in the airport for like eight hours. My flight kept getting pushed back. Then when I got the pick [in the draft], that moment just hit me and I was like, 'Maybe God was telling me, you were at home all along.' Look where I'm at now. It was a blessing. Most people would be mad about being stuck. My agency booked me another room and I stayed another night in Tampa. I got to look out the window and look at the beautiful palm trees and just kind of soak it all in. Now I'm right back to where I started at. This was my first top-30 visit and I'm back here and I'm with a great family and I'm' just ready to get this thing going."
(On how long White's flight from Tampa to New York delayed)
White: "I was delayed eight hours. It was probably – it was the longest delay that I've ever been [through]. It was maintenance, so they were working on the plane and once they fixed something, I guess something else broke and they just kept texting saying that the plane was pushed back. The plane got even more delayed, until the next morning. I don't even count that, because I switched airlines and just got on out of here, so I don't even count that."
(On if White still had the chance to visit the Giants)
White: "I missed the 'Get Up!' TV show in the morning, but I made First Take and I made NFL Films and I still got to visit the Giants."
(On if White's brother was a Buccaneers fan)
White: "It's very true my brother grew up a Bucs fan. Why he liked them, I really don't know. I don't remember at the time – because I was so young – if they were winning or not, but he always played with them on the game and he had a [Ronde] Barber jersey. So that's all I really remember about it. My brother passed when I was like 12 years old. So when I came here and I told them, it's kind of a mutual feeling, like, 'I kind of love y'all because he loved y'all.' Now I love y'all because I'm a part of the family now. Before every game, I write his name on my cleats and I always ask him to watch over me and if I can't do it, show me the way on the field. I feel like he played through me and now I'm with his favorite team, so I know he's going to really help me now. I'm just thankful man. It was the right place and I couldn't be in a better spot."
(On what happened to White's brother's Ronde Barber jersey)
White: "I don't know. When my brother turned maybe 17, he moved out of our house and moved in with his cousin. When he passed, I don't know if his things got packed and got back to the house, but it could be with his mom – I don't really know. I need to find it so I can get it framed. That would be really unique. I'm going on a hunt when I get back home."
(On getting the jersey signed by Barber)
White: "Yeah, I need to meet him and maybe get something signed and put it on [my brother's] grave. That would be really unique."
(On if White is going to bring his horses to Tampa)
White: "My thing with the bringing the horses here – I don't know about that yet. At the end of the day, I'm a professional and I've got a job and I've got to do my job to the best of my abilities. I don't know how much time I have yet that I have to spend with them. I know after my first season at LSU, I knew my schedule, I knew what to expect and I was able to kind of make time for my horses. Now I've got to make sure everything is going to be handled right here and my horses are well taken care of in Louisiana. I also have to make sure [the team] is going to let me ride those horses. I know they don't really know much about them, but it's very safe [laughter]. But right now it's just all about being a great Buccaneer. Daisy Mae, she's in great hands back in Baton Rouge at the boarder that she's at. I would be very comfortable with her staying there and me being here because I can show you many pictures from the ladies at the barn sending me pictures like, 'She's ready for you to get drafted,' and all types of stuff. They take her out, they groom her – she's in the best care. Right now, we're going to kind of delay that and I'm going to focus on just being the best Buc I can be and then whenever the time comes, if they're able to come here, then I would sure like to have them here."
(On what White brings to the team from both an on-field and off-field perspective)
Arians: "Well I think you just heard why, just listening to the person. Coach [Ed] Orgeron and I are good friends and when he started comparing him to Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis and those type of people – as a leader – it was easy to see. Knowing a lot of LSU guys that I have coached, they all said the same thing. The tape speaks for itself. People say, 'You need a pass-rusher.' He's pretty good at that and we do like to blitz up the middle – quarterbacks don't like pressure up the middle. He fits everything that we want as a human being and as a football player. I really couldn't be any more ecstatic. I really said six weeks ago to Jason, 'This is our guy.'"
(On what White wants to say to the fans)
White: "As I sit here for the first time, I would like the fans to know that you're getting a great guy and you're going to get an even greater guy on the field. Everbody has seen my potential at the college level, but I feel like I'm an unfinished prospect. I feel like my game is at a high level. But with the coaching staff here, the defensive coaching staff – Coach [Mike] Caldwell, Coach Todd [Bowles] – I feel like my game can go to a whole new level. So what they've seen in college, tell them don't expect [that] – expect even more. And that's just knowing what type of coaches I'm going to be around. I know they're going to want the best from me and they're going to require the best from me and I'm going to give them the best out of me."
(On White's interactions with Coach Bowles)
White: "My interaction with him on my top-30 visit was like no other. We didn't get on the board. I went in there – we couldn't even write on his board, he had so many defenses drawn up already and calls put in. But one thing we did, we talked. He told me to ask him as many questions as I could. When I [saw] this defense, I compared him to my [college] defensive coordinator. So I asked him, 'Are you in the box?' He was like, 'No, I'm on the field.' I was like, 'Well, my defensive coordinator is on the field.' I was like, 'Do you expect when I come off the field to be able to come back and draw up on the board to show you this is what they're out there doing?' He said yes. I said, 'My defensive coordinator expected the same thing.' Then I told him we were really big on simulated pressures and he said, 'I do the same thing, Devin,' so I was like, 'Alright, that's all I need to know."