49ers' fifth-round selection Deommodore Lenoir has a unique connection to the team.
While Lenoir played on the Salesian High school football team in Los Angeles, he was coached by D’Vah Thomas, long time friend of veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. The three are so close that the newest member of the 49ers' secondary calls the All-Pro “family.”
Learning that the door in Santa Clara is still open for Sherman’s return brought a smile to the former Oregon Duck's face during his introductory media session. The possibility of sharing the locker room with the All-Decade corner would be a unique situation.
“It’s a great feeling and that’s one of my close family members,” Lenoir said. “Being able to learn from him and learn the ropes from an older guy is great. He is just a close friend of the family so we say we are like family members.
“He and my coach went to school together and they’ve been best friends ever since.”
Sherman shared with NBC Sports Bay Area the connection between the three men and his thoughts on the 49ers pick.
“I love it,” Sherman said. “He played for one of my oldest friends in high school so I’ve kind of seen him grow up.”
The connection was even unknown to the 49ers brass who usually uncover most of a prospect’s closest secrets. Head coach Kyle Shanahan laughed, likely wishing he could have done a little more reconnaissance.
“I didn’t know he was tight with Sherm, that’s good to know,” Shanahan said. “I’ll call him now and ask him more about him. A little late but it’ll be good.”
Lenoir has already used Sherman as a resource to help the mental aspect of his game. Having mentors like a five-time Pro Bowler could be a key advantage for a rookie.
“Richard Sherman told me at the end of the day it’s just football,” Lenoir said. “You got to slow the game down and lock into your keys and you’ll be able to make plays.”