Pirates Profile: Tavarus “TD” Dantzler

By: Peter Roseman
Pirates Writer
February 27, 2021

Watching game film of linebacker Tavarus “TD” Dantzler is like watching an intense one-man wrecking crew. Number fifty-five terrorizes opposing offenses with his search and destroy style of play. Boasting 4.6 40-speed, he is lightning fast. At 6’3” 250 lbs., he is big and strong. And with his ability to anticipate, TD is a triple threat on the football field. 2021 will be TD ‘s third season suiting up for the Pirates. In his two previous seasons with the team TD made 35 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and registered 3 pass break-ups, while also setting a team postseason record of 2 sacks in a 2019 playoff game against the Carolina Cobras. So, yeah, signing TD for a third season was a no-brainer. I caught up with TD recently and we got to talking about his journey that began in a small Florida town. This edition of ‘Pirates Profile’ highlights our conversation.

TD made Second-Team All-Defense in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in his senior season at Bethune-Cookman.

TD grew up in Homestead, Florida. His mother, a single parent, was always working. As a result, TD grew up under the watchful eye of his grandparents, who were both raised just down the road in Florida City, an area noted by ONLYINYOURSTATE.COM as the number-one ranked most dangerous city in the state last year. They took it upon themselves to “Show TD the way.” In this community, TD’s grandparents knew there was one thing to keep him, and his four older cousins, off the streets: sports!

At age-seven TD’s grandparents got him involved in sports, but his career didn’t start on the football field. Along with his cousins, TD began competing in track & field. After a short time his track coach, recognizing a unique talent, decided to put TD on the local football team. His grandparents were delighted. TD developed into a solid youth football player. By senior year at Homestead High School TD, as a linebacker and defensive end, was ranked 127th in Florida’s player rankings according to MAXPREPS.COM. TD’s high school career concluded at North Carolina Tech Prep, an extra year, where he continued to earn accolades as an outside linebacker. Division 1 college football awaited.

TD initially signed with the University of Cincinnati but had second thoughts and instead decided to remain close to home. After a brief search he discovered Bethune-Cookman University, located in nearby Daytona Beach, Florida. TD spoke with members of BCU’s coaching staff and was offered a full scholarship, on the spot. Making the transition from high school to college, TD excelled as a freshman. His college career began against South Carolina State. Recording 16 tackles that season, TD proved he belonged. As a sophomore he had the opportunity to play live in front of his grandmother when she attended a BCU away game at the University of Miami, a personal thrill. By senior year TD, wearing number nine, took his game to the next level. His strength, speed, and intensity were on display. Scouts from several NFL teams took notice.

In 2015 TD signed as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers. It was a “Dream come true,” for the man from Homestead. Green Bay showed great interest in TD, more than any other team. Upon his arrival at Lambeau Field, TD was speechless. It was his “Made it moment.” While he was eventually released by the Packers, TD describes his NFL experience as “Mind-Blowing.” Guest speakers offered TD valuable insight on how to set himself up for life financially. They taught players about fiscal responsibility and explained the proper way to use credit. TD took these lessons seriously and, as a result, is better organized and smarter about his finances.

Today, five years removed from his NFL experience, TD is intimidating offenses as a linebacker for the Pirates. When not on the football field TD is a full-time dad to his daughter who was born during his college career. Although he still resides in Homestead, TD says Massachusetts is “Different, in a good way.” He describes his hometown as “tough,” and “violent,” with “few opportunities.” Up in the northeast, TD notices the scenery and appreciates the varied climate. He’s also quick to point out that “People are more friendly and helpful,” in Pirate Country. This is just the kind of thing we fans want to hear. With the 2021 season just around the corner we want number fifty-five lining up on our side of the football.

The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the Indoor Football League (IFL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. For more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email contact@masspiratesfootball.com or visit http://www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single-game tickets will be available soon at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For season, half-season, luxury, or group ticket packages please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook via Facebook.com/MAPirates, Instagram @mass.pirates, and Twitter @mass_pirates. #GetHooked #AllAboard