“We’ll go in a different direction.”
“We don’t think you fit our style of play.”
“You are not old enough.”
He still does that today. The 5-foot-6, 178-pound jogger was a polarizing player during the recruiting process, and as he enters his first season of NFL draft eligibility, he’s sure to hear those opinions again.
But when those doubts are raised in conversation, Vaughn can do what he’s done his whole life: point to the tape.
In 2021, running back in FBS had no higher PFF impulse score than Vaughn’s at 93.2. It was 1,404 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns, 5.97 yards per carry and 108 yards per game, all among the top ten in the country. It was the first all-American team, to reach the semi-finals of Doak Walker and The 12 Best Offensive Players in the PFF of the Year.
“I was never the biggest kid on the football field,” Vaughn told PFF. “That’s all I know: Being the youngest man on the field, I had to say to myself, ‘You can either focus on the fact that you are the smallest or you can use it to your advantage,’ which is exactly what I have tried to do every time I step into the field.”
In order to turn what many see as a negative into a positive, Vaughn invests in his profession with a consistent work ethic. He doesn’t focus on what he can’t change – he focuses on what he can: work with the foot for speed; Lateral agility, change of direction and sprint training for long speed; And the core strength of the elite connection balance.
One of the keys to consistency is your surroundings. Fortunately, football has been a part of his life since day one. Deuce’s father, Chris, was a long-time assistant coach at college football for programs including Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis, and Texas over the course of 18 years.
“I fell in love with football from a very young age, and I have this kind of daily basis just being my dad as a coach, going to SEC games, Arkansas, Ole Miss, watching a team like Alabama, seeing a player like Cam Newton, falling in love with the game in that side,” Vaughn said. “But getting to see behind the scenes too. Letting me go to the training facilities, go to meetings and go to the locker rooms and see these 18-24-year-olds playing at a high level, was something I wanted to do growing up, and my love The game has grown.”
In addition to his father’s college background in football, Deuce’s father also spent time as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys. Being on both ends of recruiting and reconnaissance, Deuce’s father has been a huge resource when it comes to explaining what Vaughn needs to study, learn and what schools and scouts want to see. It helped iPhone Focuses his energy where he needs it most.
From learning to backpedal at age 7 to screaming and cheering before Heisman Cam Newton scored a landing in the wildcat pack personally, Vaughn’s schedule has never been lacking in motivation for the football game. He met players like Quandre Diggs and others who set the tone for Vaughn playing at the highest level.
“I grew up seeing these guys playing in the NFL, giving every weekend. Understand there’s a scheme – uUnderstand how much work you have to do to make sure that when it’s time to go and play, you can play as fast as you can without thinking,” Vaughn said. “You realize you put in all the work that needs to be done. Now you have to go and enjoy.”
Vaughn definitely seems to be having fun there. His 1,404 yards last season was the fourth most in a single season in the school’s history. Ironically, in the Kansas state record books, the Vaughn player chasing him is the one he’ll want to be compared to as a future pro: Darren Sproulis.
Sproles owns career (4,979), single season (1,986) and singles game (292) at Kansas State. Sproles also had size concerns, appearing to the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine at 5 feet 6 feet and 187 pounds. He went on to play for 15 years in the NFL, winning the Super Bowl and making three Pro Bowls.
“I met Darren last season,” Vaughn said. “He came to the Oklahoma game and he talked to us during our practice on Thursday, about the way he’s run football in practice and in the NFL and he gave me some tips and stuff about how to take care of his body: things like how he took care of his body as a younger man, How did he manage to get such a long life, and the things he went through.
“I got his number – he’s someone I’ll be able to call, because he’s a schemer for a guy like me. You see all these things he’s done, so to talk to him and get to know him, it was such a great time.”
If Vaughn can replicate the stats he scored last season, he will come close to putting his name right behind Sproles in the Kansas State Records records. But whether it’s his career stats, six straight games from 100 yards to finish the season or even a team win, Vaughn keeps his head up and his eyes on the prize.
He does so with a powerful sentence that he keeps coming back to constantly: “Never be attracted to success.”
“In Kansas we have a motive Coach, Ben Newman, Who Comes In, Texts Me Daily: Motivational Quotes Just Being On My Corner Of Everything Call Him Texts And Talks “About life, football, and everything in between,” Vaughn said. He gave me this quote: ‘Never be seduced with success. It’s something I’ve carried with me since I heard it from him. Which something I love. Every time your feet hit the ground in the morning, it’s a reminder that you haven’t arrived, meaning you have a lot of work to do.”
Vaughn will definitely enter 2022 on Doak Walker’s watch list. For some, he’ll be on Heisman’s watch list, too. As the football season evolves, you will also witness the hype of the NFL Draft.
Others think Vaughn is a nice story – a good college comeback but not a player he would invest in on a professional level.
I’ve heard that before.
“One team will take a chance with me,” Vaughn said. “And that’s all I need.”