Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Gators safety Ahmad Black in the fifth round

Ahmad Black started 39 games at free safety for Florida and had 13 interceptions, including this one against Miami (Ohio).


Ahmad Black started 39 games at free safety for Florida and had 13 interceptions, including this one against Miami (Ohio).

TAMPA — Long before drafting him in the fifth round Saturday, the Bucs got their first look at Florida safety Ahmad Black when his youth league football team was recognized by the Glazer family at midfield of Raymond James Stadium in the late 1990s.

One of the main reasons Black was a Bucs fans growing up in Lakeland was his aunt, Sabrina Valdez-Collins, who spent six seasons as a Bucs cheerleader (1988-93) and has worked with the squad since.

"He's always been a football fan, but he was a big Bucs fan by me being a cheerleader," said Valdez-Collins, who got her nephew a field pass for his sixth birthday in 1995, allowing him to meet the likes of Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn.

Now Black can return to Tampa and play at Raymond James Stadium, where he finished his Florida career with an MVP performance in the Outback Bowl win that included an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown. He's excited to stay close to home, but after being drafted much later than he hoped, he would have been happy no matter which team took him.

"It got so far, I just wanted to be taken by anybody," he said. "I just want to play football. The five rounds was a long time for me."

Black, small for a safety at 5 feet 9 and 184 pounds, said he thought he fell in part because of "measurables" — he ran 40 yards in 4.70 seconds at a campus workout, slow for a defensive back, especially a small one.

But his production as a senior at Florida was solid: 108 tackles, including 11 for loss, with five interceptions. During the Gators' national championship run in 2008, he had seven interceptions, including one in the title game against Oklahoma.

Both Bucs general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris were struck by the enthusiasm Black had when they told him they were drafting him.

"Ahmad Black should be a popular player within our Buccaneer family and certainly in the Tampa community," Dominik said. "He's a captain. He's a productive player, a great kid off the field, on the field. He's always produced, has always been able to battle above some of the limitations people have thought he had. For him to be there in the fifth round, that's a guy we want to bring onto this football team."

His aunt, who watched the draft with him Saturday, will attend next weekend when the Bucs have their final callbacks for the cheerleading squad. She said having her nephew stay close to his family is something else to be excited about.

"I live in Riverview, so he said he was excited because I can cook for him every day," she said. "I told him, 'Sorry, but I don't cook every day.' "

Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Gators safety Ahmad Black in the fifth round 04/30/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 30, 2011 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 12 FSU, freshman QB James Blackman struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State


    TALLAHASSEE — Whatever was left of No. 12 Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes suffered a massive, likely fatal, blow Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  2. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  4. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  5. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]