Aug. 31, 2015
By Brad Muller | More Features
“Untested,” “unproven,” and “inexperienced” have been among the terms used by various media outlets to describe South Carolina’s corps of wide receivers, not including returning All-SEC pass-catcher Pharoh Cooper. That’s just fine with redshirt freshman Tyshun Samuel, known more by his nickname “Deebo.” Regardless of how you address him, Samuel is excited to try to make a name for himself this season.
“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove,” Samuel said. “I mean, we’re all out here grinding and getting better. You make plays when the ball comes to you. When the ball is in someone else’s hands, you have to go block and help them out just as well as they help you. All of us here have a chance to make big plays.”
The nickname "Deebo" was given to him by his father and comes from the neighborhood bully character played by actor Tiny Lister in the movie "Friday.”
“When I was little, my daddy said I was a bully,” Deebo laughed. “He said I was always taking things from him. The nickname stuck, so I’m good with it.”
The redshirt year makes you bigger, faster, and stronger. It got me mentally stronger for this year. It’s really fast out here. It’s not like high school.
His mother is the only one who calls him by his given name, Tyshun. He has drawn comparisons to former Gamecock receiver Bruce Ellington, and that’s not a bad name to be associated with either.
“He was about my size, and he was a big physical receiver,” Samuel said. “I’m big, fast and really physical.”
The Inman, South Carolina, native has earned positive remarks from the coaching staff throughout the preseason and was recognized with the team’s Big Plays award for the offense in the spring. While he said he doesn’t feel any extra pressure to standout, Samuel is very excited about what he brings to the table and can’t wait to make an impact in 2015.
“I like the deep balls,” Samuel grinned. “I think my best routes are deep balls. As a receiver, you just have to attack the ball and make plays. You have to catch the ball when you’re in traffic and separate yourself from other people.”
Samuel scored 53 career touchdowns at Chapman High School as a receiver, running back, defensive back and kick returner. Playing on the scout team after being redshirted last year was humbling for Samuel, but he learned a lot and worked hard to move up the depth chart in 2015.
“It was really tough at first,” Samuel said. “I thought I was going to come right in and play, so I had to change my mindset. The redshirt year makes you bigger, faster, and stronger. It got me mentally stronger for this year. It’s really fast out here. It’s not like high school. Everybody here is big, fast and strong. There are a lot of people out here who can do the same things you do.”
Samuel has been waiting for his chance to shine and looks forward to stepping on to the field for the first time.
“I’m more than excited to get ready to play after sitting out last year,” Samuel said. “I’m just getting my mind right, getting ready to make plays, and take some pressure off of Pharoh. The excitement really started back in the spring game knowing that I was going to get a chance of getting out here and showing people what I am capable of.”
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