SANTA CLARA – Tyshun Samuel was the 49ers’ second-round draft pick because he plays wide receiver like the character after whom his nickname was inspired.
He is widely known as “Deebo,” the neighborhood bully from the 1995 movie “Friday,” which he has watched about a thousand times, Samuel said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.
“It all came from when I was a little kid,” said Samuel, who was born a year after the movie was released. “My father said I used to take stuff and bully kids when I was little, so he gave me the nickname 'Deebo.'
“Growing up, it just stuck. Even when I went to college, me personally, I thought the 'Deebo' name was going to go away, and everybody would start calling me Tyshun. But it never went away. It’s kind of a cool name to have.”
Samuel (5-foot-11, 214 pounds) is built like a running back. And he said he has the mentality with the ball in his hands that it will take more than just one person to bring him down.
As a senior at South Carolina, he caught 11 touchdown passes. As a sophomore, he had six rushing touchdowns on 15 carries. And throughout his college career, he returned four kickoffs for scores. Samuel had an impressive week on the 49ers-coached South team at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
The club selected him with the No. 36 overall pick in the NFL draft. He is expected to make an immediate impact in the 49ers' passing game.
“It’s just a dog mentality, that’s what we call it back home,” Samuel said. “It’s just having that mindset that you’re going to punish anybody who gets in front of you.
“When I was a little kid, my father was my little league football coach. That kind of played a role into how physical I am today, because every time I touched the ball, he always told me to get the ball in the box, meaning the end zone. That’s been my mindset growing up since I was a kid.”