Devin White is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. And, yes, the horses are going with him.
The Bucs drafted White with the No. 5 overall pick in the NFL draft, and he is now the highest-drafted linebacker in LSU history.
"All my horses going to Tampa. We're family. We never leave family behind," White told NFL Network after he was selected.
Only one LSU linebacker had ever been drafted within the top 10: Eric Hill, who was selected No. 10 overall by the Phoenix Cardinals in 1989.
White becomes the fifth Tigers player to be drafted in the first round since 2014 and the first since 2017, when three LSU players were drafted in the first round (Leonard Fournette, No. 4 overall Jacksonville Jaguars; Jamal Adams, No. 6 New York Jets; Tre'Davious White No. 27 Buffalo Bills).
White skyrocketed up draft boards in the months leading up to Thursday's first round. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Cotton Valley native ran a 4.42-second 40-yard dash to lead all linebackers at the NFL combine.
In a farewell letter to fans earlier this year, White said the choice to leave LSU was the hardest decision he's made.
"I am forever grateful for the village that rallied around me during some of my greatest victories and most painful defeats," he wrote. "Through them, I realized my biggest inspiration, which is giving the youth back home hope of helping them exceed expectations that people and society have placed on them. The friendships and bonds that have been made with my people at home will forever remain with me long after I am done playing football."
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White established himself as one of the greatest linebackers in LSU history, joining former players from Mike Anderson to Michael Brooks to Bradie James in the pantheon of top-level defenders.
He's the only player in LSU history to win the Butkus Award.
White said he would continue to pursue his bachelor's degree so that he would become the first person in his family to graduate from a Division I university.
Comparisons have linked the horse-riding, fumble-forcing White to previous NFL greats long before White announced he was giving up his senior year for the draft: Hall of Famer Ray Lewis; Roquan Smith, the Chicago Bears' No. 8 overall pick in 2018.
"He's going to be a Rookie of the Year candidate who's going to record a ridiculous number of tackles and explosive plays," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.
White's speed is unusual at inside linebacker. The 200 players at that position who were drafted since 2005 ran the 40-yard dash in an average of 4.75 seconds, according to data from pro-football-reference.com.
Only three inside linebackers — Martez Wilson (4.42, 2011), Mychal Kendricks (4.44, 2012) and Gerald McRath (4.49, 2009) — ran faster than a 4.5.
White's size and speed are what initially made him the nation's No. 5-ranked running back recruit out of North Webster High, according to 247Sports, before he became the anchor of LSU's 3-4 scheme under defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
"You get maybe two players in a lifetime like that. (Former cornerback) Patrick Peterson was one of them," said LSU deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry, a former LSU linebacker who led the Tigers in tackles twice from 1986-89, a span that included two SEC championships. "You turn the projector on, and it takes about 10 seconds and you're like, 'OK, we know him. We know what he does.’ ”