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Lavonte David
refer to caption
David in 2012
No. 54 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position: Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1990-01-23) January 23, 1990 (age 28)
Miami, Florida
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 233 lb (106 kg)
Career information
High school: Miami (FL) Northwestern
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 2012 / Round: 2 / Pick: 58
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2017
Tackles: 765
Sacks: 18.0
Forced fumbles: 17
Fumble recoveries: 8
Interceptions: 10
Defensive touchdowns: 3
Player stats at
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[edit]

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, David was not highly recruited.[1]

College career[edit]

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.[2]

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 and CBS, unanimous first-team Big 12 and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, as selected by the coaches.[3][4]

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.[5]

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.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
233 lb
(106 kg)
31 34 in
(0.81 m)
8 34 in
(0.22 m)
4.65 s 1.56 s 4.22 s 7.28 s 36.5 in
(0.93 m)
9 ft 11 in
(3.02 m)
19 reps
All values from NFL Combine[6]

Projected to be a second-to-third round selection by Sports Illustrated,[7] David was graded as the No. 10 outside linebacker available in the 2012 NFL Draft.[8] He was described as a "terrific football player with a complete game, but [with] size limitations."[7]

2012 season[edit]

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.[9] 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."[10] 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.

On May 19, 2012, the Buccaneers signed him to a four-year contract, worth $3,471,732 including a $964,896 signing bonus. The deal also guaranteed $1,363,896.[11][12] 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.'’[13]

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."[14]

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.[15]

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.[16] 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.[16]

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.[17]

2013 season[edit]

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.”[18]

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.'’[19]

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.’’

"There are certain types of leaders. There are vocal leaders. There are leaders by example. Lavonte is a leader by example unquestionably. His work ethic, his attention to detail, his practice habits. If you could say, 'As a Buc, how do you want a guy to perform?' You just point to him."[20]

Greg Schiano

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.[21]

"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.[22]

On January 3, 2014, Lavonte David was named 2013 First-Team All-Pro.[23] 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.[24] Despite those numbers, David did not make the Pro Bowl team for 2013.[25] 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.

2014 season[edit]

"There's not a lot of players like Derrick Brooks, it's not even fair to compare some guys in that way. But, Lavonte David, he has a chance. He's that younger version coming up. I hear he's a great guy".[26]

Lovie Smith

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.[27] 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.[28]

2015 season[edit]

On August 9, 2015, David agreed to a five-year, $50.25 million contract extension with $25.56 million guaranteed with the Buccaneers.[29] 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.[30]

2016 season[edit]

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.

2017 season[edit]

On September 17, 2017, in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears, David recovered a Mike Glennon fumble, which set up the Buccaneers on an eventual touchdown scoring drive.[31]

Personal life[edit]

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.[3] 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.


Year Team G GS Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Comb Total Ast Sack SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR Yds TD
2012 TB 16 16 139 112 27 2.0 0 5 1 27 27 27 0 0 0 0 0
2013 TB 16 16 145 107 38 7.0 1 9 5 87 17.4 32 0 2 1 0 0
2014 TB 14 14 146 101 45 1.0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 0
2015 TB 16 16 147 85 62 3.0 0 13 3 19 6.3 20T 1 2 1 0 0
2016 TB 16 16 87 67 20 5.0 0 3 1 15 15 15 1 4 2 53 0
2017 TB 13 13 101 76 25 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5 5 21 1
Total 91 91 765 548 217 18.0 1 34 10 148 14.8 32 2 17 8 74 1


  1. ^ "Lavonte David Recruiting Profile". 
  2. ^ a b "Lavonte David – – Nebraska Athletics Official Web Site". January 23, 1990. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Lavonte David. "Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lavonte David". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ NFL (January 23, 1990). "Lavonte David - Game Log, Bio - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - NFL Football -". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Complete All-Big Ten football teams". Detroit Free Press. November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Lavonte David Combine Profile",, archived from the original on May 26, 2014, retrieved June 15, 2013 
  7. ^ a b "Lavonte David - 2012 Draft Tracker -". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ "View Draft by Positions - 2012 Draft Tracker -". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Lavonte David Emerging As Leader on Buccaneers Defense « CBS Tampa". November 13, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ "David happy to be back in Sunshine State". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  11. ^ Yasinskas, Pat. "Breaking down Lavonte David's contract – NFC South Blog – ESPN". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Lavonte David signs four-year deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Yasinskas, Pat. "Bucs LB Lavonte David off to fast start – NFC South Blog – ESPN". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours (August 11, 2012). "Tampa Bay Bucs rookie linebacker Lavonte David shows good hands, timing | Tampa Bay Times". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Former Greyhound Lavonte David Steps into Key Role for Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Fort Scott". September 17, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Buccaneers Lavonte David named defensive rookie of the month – SB Nation Tampa Bay". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ Lavonte David's Rookie Numbers a Rare Feat
  18. ^ "Fennelly: Bucs' David turning up defensive heat". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  19. ^ Yasinskas, Pat. "Second breakout season for Lavonte David? – ESPN". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  20. ^ Yasinskas, Pat. "Quietly, Lavonte David emerging for Buccaneers – ESPN". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  21. ^ "Lavonte David: To me, he was in bounds | ProFootballTalk". Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Lavonte David named NFC defensive player of the week | ProFootballTalk". November 27, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Peyton Manning unanimous choice for 2013 all-pro team". January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  24. ^ "NFL Player Stats – Tackles For Loss". January 4, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  25. ^ "2014 Pro Bowl: Complete roster". December 27, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2014. 
  26. ^ Gantt, Darin. "Lovie Smith thinks Lavonte David has Derrick Brooks qualities- PFT". Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Wesseling, Chris (August 9, 2015). "Lavonte David, Buccaneers agree to 5-year extension". Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  30. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2016 - No. 53 Lavonte David
  31. ^ "Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - September 17th, 2017". Retrieved 31 October 2017. 

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