SANTA CLARA -– His best friend plays the same position for the 49ers.
Safety Jaquiski Tartt of Samford University knew all about the players at his position the 49ers already had on the roster entering the draft.
Tartt said he was surprised the 49ers needed to add another safety to their roster with a draft pick on Day 2. The 49ers selected Tartt on Friday in the second round with the No. 46 overall pick.
“I thought they had a great group of guys in their secondary,” Tartt said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
Veteran Antoine Bethea, the team MVP last year, and Eric Reid, the 49ers’ top pick in the 2013 draft, return as the starters. The 49ers last year invested their first-round pick in Jimmie Ward, who also happens to be Tartt’s best friend.
Ward and Tartt played together at Davidson High School in Mobile, Alabama. They have talked recently about the possibility of playing together in the NFL –- a possibility Tartt said he never even considered until after his sophomore year of college.
Now, they’ll be in competition for a role on the 49ers' defense.
“That’s going to make us better,” Tartt said.
The selection of Tartt from the small school in Birmingham, Alabama, came as a surprise to most, who figured wide receiver and cornerback were considered the 49ers’ top needs. Even Tartt was surprised to pick up the phone when the 49ers called.
“I was honestly expecting third or fourth round, maybe,” said Tartt, the highest-drafted player in Samford history. “I’m just thankful they drafted me in the second round.”
Tartt (6-foot-1 3/8, 221 pounds) is an aggressive, hard-hitting player who covered the slot receiver in college. He said he figures he will have to make his first contributions to the 49ers in the kicking game.
“I see myself playing special teams,” he said. “I want to make my name on special teams and learn as much as I can from Antoine Bethea and Eric Reid.”