The 6-foot-2, 273-pound White is regarded as an excellent speed-rushing defensive end and he recently turned in an impressive 4.73 time in the 40-yard dash to support those sentiments. During his three-year tenure as a Cardinal, White used his speed and quickness to record 198 tackles and 37.5 sacks.
"We like the player," said Bucs general manager Rich McKay. "We've tried to be about production in our drafts in the past, and we'll continue to be about production. I don't know if you are going to get a more productive player than Dewayne. This year was kind of an off year for him because he only had 10.5 sacks. We like the tape, and the character of the kid is impeccable. This is a very good kid whose work ethic is excellent, likes the game of football and who has obviously overcome a lot of tragedy. This was a pretty easy pick for us."
White, 23, said it has been a dream of his to play on what he believes is the best defensive line in the National Football League.
"It's a dream come true," said White. "They have the best defensive line in the National Football League, and just to be able to play with those guys and learn from the veterans will be a tremendous experience for me. I feel blessed that they picked me up. It would have been great if I had gone higher, but this is the best place for me. Hopefully, I can go down there and contribute the best I can."
Despite being hampered by a nagging ankle injury last season, White earned NFL Draft Report All-American Dream Team honors and was a All-Conference USA first-team pick. Although his numbers were down from his sophomore season, White notched 60 tackles (16.5 for losses) and led the team with 10.5 sacks in his junior season, which turned out to be his last at Louisville.
"For anyone who has ever had a high-ankle sprain, you know you can't move laterally," said White. "I could move straight forward but laterally, which is left and right in football, I couldn't do that at all. It was hard toward the end of the year. I was playing with it, and it looked like I was heavy because it did not have a brace or anything so people didn't know. I didn't produce as much as I did the year before or even my freshman year."
As a sophomore, White finished second in the nation in sacks with 15. His sack total along with his 86 tackles earned him All-Conference USA first-team honors.
Tampa Bay had been eyeing White since February, when the team interviewed him at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
"They brought me up at the Combine, and I talked to them," White said of the Bucs. "They told me last week that if I was still on the board with that pick, they were going to draft me. I really don't know what to say. I'm glad because they were one of my favorite team even before they were in the Super Bowl."
Tampa Bay considered trading up to grab White since he was one of only two prospects remaining on the team's "Hot List", but they managed to stay patient, refrain from surrendering any additional draft picks, and selected him with the last pick of the second round.
He played the majority of his college career as a defensive end, but the Bucs believe White can also contribute as a defensive tackle, just as Ellis Wyms has done since the team drafted him in 2001.
"We thought he was a player for us that could play three positions," said McKay. "He could play left end, he could come in and play under tackle and he could play right end. We like versatility in defensive linemen. That's what Ellis Wyms has brought us, and that's worked out pretty well for us. Dewayne fits in the mold of the guys that we have brought in here as far as work goes and as far as approach to the game, so we are pretty comfortable."
White's road to the NFL was not an easy one. He's overcome a series of personal tragedies that included the death of his father when he was just two months old and the passing of his mother when he was 14.
White said those tragedies have helped him become a better player on the football field.
"At times in anybody's life you feel like, 'Man, why is this happening to me?' It was just a drive inside of me that I knew if I kept working hard, good things are going to eventually come. If you keep staying in the weight room and doing things right, good things are going to come to you. That's what I believe in. Even when bad times come, keep working toward it; It is going to happen. That's what I believe, and it happened to me."
Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli expects White to fit right into Tampa Bay's defensive scheme.
"I see a guy that's very humble," said Marinelli. "(He's) very hardworking and understands what hard work is. I think he'll come into the group and those guys will welcome him with open arms. He'll fit our group, and he'll do a great job."