The National Football League today announced that Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White has been named Defensive Rookie of the Month for the month of December.
In Weeks 14-17, White totaled 22 tackles, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and one defensive touchdown. His three opponent fumble recoveries over the four-game stretch led all NFL players in that span. In Week 17 vs. Atlanta, White returned a fumble 91 yards for a touchdown, marking the longest fumble return touchdown in Buccaneers team history and the seventh-longest touchdown of any kind in franchise history. He became the first NFL rookie since 1970 with two opponent fumble recovery touchdowns in a season.
He becomes the first Buccaneers rookie to win a monthly rookie award in consecutive months and just the second to win twice, joining 2005 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, Carnell Williams (September & December 2005). Since the NFL Rookie of the Month award was first introduced in 1996, White is just the fifth defensive player to earn the honor in consecutive months joining: Jevon Kearse (November-December 1999), Kendrell Bell (October-November 2001), Dwight Freeney (November-December 2002) and Brian Cushing (November-December/January 2009).
White led all rookies with 7.0 tackles per game and two defensive touchdowns in 2019, while also tying for first with four opponent fumble recoveries (returned for a league-best 121 yards) and tying for second with three forced fumbles.
His four opponent fumble recoveries on the season tied Cecil Johnson (1977) for the most by a rookie in team history, while his three forced fumbles are tied for the second-most. In addition, White's 91 tackles on the season are the third-most by a rookie in team history, trailing only Pro Bowl linebackers Lavonte David (139 in 2012) and Kwon Alexander (93 in 2015). White is the only rookie in team history with multiple defensive touchdowns in a season.