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Devy Spotlight: Deuce Vaughn, RB, Kansas State

An explosive back with size questions, Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn is an RB which will make the NFL questions – what size is too small to be successful?

Sometimes, life isn’t fair. I’m not telling any of you something you didn’t already know. I feel that way when watching Deuce Vaughn play. He’s possibly the most electric player in college football and does things that make your jaw drop. He is so much fun to watch. 

So why isn’t life fair? Vaughn is 5’6” – a death sentence for prospects in recent years. He is 175 pounds, and at that height, he is built well. But the list of running backs succeeding at his height begins and ends with another Kansas State Wildcat, Darren Sproles. They will forever be intertwined because of this, and hopefully, Vaughn can find the same level of success. 

RECRUITMENT

Vaughn attended Cedar Ridge High in Round Rock, Texas, and was only a three-star recruit in the Class of 2020. Despite only being a three-star cat, Vaughn had offers from Arkansas, Missouri, Baylor, and Minnesota, amongst others. He visited Kansas State in October of 2019 and committed with the urging of RB Coach Brian Anderson. 

STATS

Rushing & Receiving Table
RushRushRushRush ReceReceReceRece ScriScriScriScri
Year School Class G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2020Kansas StateFR101236425.272543417.4214810767.39
*2021Kansas StateSO1323514046.018494689.6428418726.622
CareerKansas State35820465.7257490212.2643229486.831

Vaughn hit the field running, appearing in ten games as a freshman, rushing for over five yards a tote, catching 25 passes, and scoring nine times. His 1,076 yards from scrimmage was the third most in the Big 12. 

And then came 2022, where Vaughn officially announced his arrival. He racked up 1,872 yards from scrimmage – first in the Big 12 and fourth most in the NCAA. He scored 22 TDs, the second most in the Big 12 and the fourth-most in the country. Vaughn was a Consensus All-American with 284 total touches, including 49 receptions. 

FILM STUDY

Before I start, I want to leave this here. Some people have hated on the threads, but here’s an excellent thread by our own Nick Penticoff. Several highlights and goodies for you!

Elusive is His Middle Name

Vaughn is incredibly elusive, and it’s not just in the open field. He has excellent vision to get through the line and can slip through the smallest cracks. At the second level, his speed kicks in, and he uses angles with speed, making it difficult for defenders to get a hand on him. If they do, Vaughn will slide out of tackles with ease. 

Here’s another crazy run showcasing how elusive he is. With Vaughn, defenders have to respect the speed, and in doing so, he continuously sets them up with moves. He’s incredibly quick in subtle movements and doesn’t lose momentum. Vaughn also has a great spin move and picks when to use his arsenal well. 

How long do you guys have? I can find these highlights all damn day!!

Receiving Threat

As quick and elusive as he is as a rusher, Vaughn is even more dangerous with the ball in space. His skill set here will at least find him a role in the NFL. I think he’s more than a pass-catching third-down back, but this may be his bread and butter. He’s got phenomenal hands, and that second he catches the ball, Vaughn gets downfield quickly.

Use Vaughn in the slot, too; it’s another chance to showcase what he brings to the table. 

Here’s a great one: Vaughn catching a short dump-off and highlighting how good he is at the second level, setting up defenders, and making them miss. 

Areas for Improvement

Height will be an issue, we can’t gloss over that, but obviously, he isn’t going to be able to do anything about that. So, what are the actual areas where Vaughn could improve? 

The size makes him a liability in pass protection; he can get overwhelmed quickly by most defenders. He’s a powerful runner, but he’s not going to overpower NFL defenders if they wrap him up. Vaughn doesn’t get full-on tackled much, but if defenders have even a solid grasp on him, he’s going to go down. 

And, as with most shifty runners, Vaughn can get caught trying to do too much from time to time in the backfield. If he has to deviate from the planned route, he can dance around a bit and get caught for a larger loss. Surprisingly, I didn’t see that often happen, though. 

CONCLUSION

I must admit, I entered this Spotlight session expecting to be lukewarm on Vaughn’s NFL aspirations. He’s an electric playmaker for sure, but there have been so few successes at his size. Sproles did, but the NFL has gotten larger and faster since he played, even though it’s only been a few years. 

The NFL may hesitate some, but if Vaughn can get second-day draft capital and a team that will be creating getting him touches, wheels up. Vaughn can handle inside running, but I wouldn’t suggest getting him more than 100 touches in that capacity. Vaughn will be a productive NFL back if he can get those 100 and another 50-75 touches via pass-catching. He’s averaged 6.8 yards per touch in college, and I could see him maintaining a similar average on Sundays. 

Vaughn will be eligible to enter the 2023 Draft, but the draft is loaded at RB. Finding Day 2 capital against Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, Zach Evans, Tank Bigsby, and Sean Tucker may be tough. Returning for another college season would be in the cards. 

The community seems to be warming to the NFL prospects of Vaughn, but his price in Devy is still reasonably low. Based on ADP accrued at campus2canton.com, his average ADP is 68.1. Vaughn’s C2C value is much higher due to his massive college production. Vaughn is a strong buy for me in each format. Another productive season should warm even the staunchest critics.

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