Five things to know about USC receiver commit Tyshun Samuel

dmclemore@thestate.comDecember 13, 2013 

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Chapman High's Tyshun "Deebo" Samuel puts on a Gamecocks hat to announce his commitment to play for USC during a ceremony Dec. 5.

MICHAEL JUSTUS — Spartanburg Herald Journal

Chapman High receiver Tyshun Samuel became the 15th commitment for South Carolina's class of 2014 when he announced for the Gamecocks last week.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Samuel is the Gamecocks' third and likely final commitment at the wide receiver spot in the class of 2014. He is the eighth from inside the state. Chapman is located in Inman, just west of Spartanburg.

He picked USC over North Carolina, Vanderbilt and Appalachian State.

Here are five things to know about Samuel.

1. HIS RECRUITMENT

Samuel wasn't on many recruiting radars through his sophomore season as he played mainly defensive back and some running back. Coach Mark Hodge, in his first season at the school, featured Samuel as a junior at wide receiver and running back, and 20 touchdowns followed.

Recruiting interest picked up, but was still slowed some by concerns in the classroom. He was on the fence academically heading into his senior year and had to have a good year and test score to qualify.

"I'm sure for everybody that made them a little big leery, especially coming in late," Hodge said. "He had a real good test score, and his grades are doing well."

South Carolina and Steve Spurrier Jr. had been in touch with Samuel since his junior year, and a scholarship offer was extended shortly after he received a qualifying test score.

"It held me back," Samuel said of his grades. "I had to work hard and get my core GPA up so many people could see that I could do it."

2. HIS NAME

Though his first name is Tyshun (pronounced Tie-SHON), most call him Deebo, named after the neighborhood bully character played by actor Tiny Lister in the movie "Friday."

"I got that name when I was little," Samuel said. "My daddy said I used to take stuff from people when I was a baby. He gave me the nickname Deebo."

There are only a few times when he'll be called Tyshun, according to his coach.

"It's kind of like the middle name of a child," Hodge said. "If a teacher wants him to do something different or we want to get his attention in certain settings, we'll call him Tyshun. You won't hear that often. When he hears it, it really grabs his attention because he's used to hearing Deebo."

3. SAMUEL, THE PERSON

From Coach Hodge: "He's a great kid. He's a very genuine kid. If you get disappointed in him for anything it disappoints him that he disappointed you. I've had many great players and average players who didn't necessarily care if they disappointed you or the school or the system. He very much wants to be known for doing the right thing. If he ever feels like he's not lived up to your standards or expectations, it hurts him.

"He works really hard in the classroom, is one of the favorite kids in the building, from administration to teachers. The teachers love him. He's just fun to be around. He's done a lot of school work to catch him up on things he missed earlier. I'm proud of his work ethic and the way he competes. He practices exactly like he plays. That helps our team. When your best player practices harder than anybody else on the team, it really pulls the whole team up. He's got a dynamic personality, a very caring personality."

4. SAMUEL, THE PLAYER

As a senior Samuel had 61 receptions for 1,184 yards and 15 touchdowns. He added 837 yards on the ground and 13 scores, and found the end zone two more times on interceptions. His 30 total touchdowns this year gave him a school-record 53 for his career. He will play in the Shrine Bowl.

From Coach Hodge: "We found out real quick through last season and through this summer that he's as good as anybody that I've been around. He proved that in every big game he made big plays, all the way to our very last game. He's a great football player.

"He can't stand to lose. Great players hate losing more than they like winning. If it's pickup basketball game or trying to pitch quarters, he's going to try to beat you at whatever you're doing. That in itself is really going to allow him to excel at the next level.

"He's strong, he can catch, he attacks the ball, he catches it with his hands. He's also got great vision as a running back and is probably the fastest guy on the field. You put all those together and there are very few things that he can't do. This is at the age of 18 and still growing and still maturing.

"He's made our team and our other players better because they're trying to compete with him. I'm real excited to see him get on that level with equal caliber athletes and allow him to actually hone his own skills and increase his own abilities. The things that he's capable of doing, we're just scratching the surface."

5. WHY HE'LL FIT IN AT USC

From Coach Hodge: "First of all, just the entire school setting. It's a high-quality institution as far as grades go. As far as football goes it's a top 10 program. The way it's set up academically and the support system they have, the requirements and structure they have for incoming freshmen.

"The coaching staff, I've been blessed to get to know some of those guys over the years and I trust them. There are some kids that we already have relationships there. Dylan Thompson, his father is a friend of ours. We know Dylan well, and there are a couple other kids from the area that I think would be a good support structure for him and be able to help his transition from high school. It's far enough from home that you get to start a new chapter in your life, but it's close enough that your friends and family can come watch you play.

"Coach Spurrier, you don't find better head coaches than Coach Spurrier with his experiences and the way he coaches football. We know the chaplain down there. You put all those things together and it's a great opportunity for him."

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