Lavonte David grew up in Miami before Tampa Bay's second-round draft choice moved on to a junior college in Kansas and the University of Nebraska.
The 233-pound linebacker is eager to return to the Sunshine State and play his home games at Raymond James Stadium.
"I traveled all over the Midwest, and I really haven't had a chance to play back in Florida," David said. "It's great to have an opportunity to play in Tampa, four hours up the road from Miami."
David had some indications either the Eagles or Titans would grab him in the draft.
"I started getting anxious, and then I got the call from coach (Greg) Schiano," David said. "I told him thanks for everything and I'll make it count."
The Buccaneers generated mostly positive reviews from the national media after landing Alabama safety Mark Barron and Boise State running back Doug Martin in the opening round Thursday night.
On ESPN, former NFL players-turned-analysts Trent Dilfer, Herm Edwards and Ron Jaworski all rated Tampa Bay's early draft harvest as among the best in the league.
Former Washington and Houston GM Charley Casserly gave the Bucs an "A+" for their first-round work, which also was deemed the best first-day effort by former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner.
"Here's why I'm excited about (Tampa)," Casserly said on NFL Network. "First of all, Mark Barron, I thought this guy was the seventh-best player in the draft — a Pro Bowl player. This guy can cover, he can hit, he can do it all.
"And then, Doug Martin. They get him at the end of the first round. This guy reminds me of Ray Rice. That's putting a lot on (Martin), but they got two really good football players there."
NFL Network and NBC analyst Mike Mayock rated the Bucs as big winners, too, largely for their selection of Barron, whom the Bucs grabbed seventh after working a trade with Jacksonville.
Praise for the Bucs was not universal, however.
Senior writer John Clayton called the Bucs one of his three first-round draft losers in his blog on ESPN.com.
"I liked their move to trade from the second round and get into the first to grab Martin," Clayton wrote. "What I didn't like was trading down with Jacksonville two spots and losing the chance to take Morris Claiborne. Claiborne has the look of a future Pro Bowl cornerback. Those players are hard to find. Instead, the Bucs got safety Mark Barron and a fourth-round choice. A Pro Bowl corner is worth more than a safety and a fourth-rounder."
When he took over as head coach three months ago, Schiano said he would establish a Buccaneer way, building his team with players sharing particular character traits.
"The kind of guys we want are the kinds of guys who love football, the guys who are going to lose track of time working at it" said Schiano, who pointed to the selections of Barron, Martin and David as examples.
David said he's proud to join the fraternity.
"I started playing football when I was 6 years old, and I haven't missed a year since," he said. "I'm very passionate about it. I just love the game."