"I know that I love their (Tampa Bay's) defense," said Stamper. "They've always had a great tradition of having great defenses. Warren Sapp was coached by my freshman year position coach. He always told me a lot about him (Sapp). I look forward to being able to work with guys like him and the rest of th defense."
Stamper (6-foot-4, 265) is a typical defensive end candidate for the Buccaneers, exhibiting good quickness, hustle and pursuit. He isn't cut from the athletic mold of John Abraham or Kalimba Edwards, but has a fiery presence about him.
"I really like to play 110 percent every down," said Stamper. "I give my best effort on every play. I just try to make as many plays as possible while playing within my limits. I try to play fundamentally sound football as well as playing hard. I try to make mistakes."
He played opposite Edwards for the Gamecocks, but his play really resembles John McLaughlin, a former Tampa Bay developmental defensive end, or Joe Tafoya, who was a seventh-round pick last year.
Stamper has been clocked as fast as 4.7 in the 40-yard dash on a fast surface, but was timed at 4.95 in some post-season workouts which caused his stock to dip. He does possess good agility and change of direction ability as well as a 36.5 inch vertical jump.
He finished his career at South Carolina with 103 tackles and six sacks. Because he played in the Gamecocks' 3-4-type scheme, he has the ability to play linebacker, but will likely play defensive end in Tampa Bay.
"We went out and found big John Stamper at the University of South Carolina," said Coach Gruden. "He's a guy who has a great motor, a very solid defensive end who will compete for a back-up defensive end job. Who knows where he can go swith his game."
Stamper, who played left defensive end in 2001, will compete with Greg Spires, Ellis Wyms and Ron Warner at the backup defensive end position. He will also be expected to play special teams in order to make the team, and he was a good special teams player for South Carolina, and blocked a punt in 1998.
"Right now, I'll do whatever they need me to do," said Stamper. " Whether it's playing on special teams, coming on in a backup role or whatever needs to be done. I'm all for it and ready to do it."
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