Signing day isn’t until Wednesday, but Vanderbilt already landed an impact player. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who spent the last two seasons as Illinois’ featured tailback, announced he will transfer to Vandy to play out his college career.
Vaughn is a Nashville native who developed into a four-star recruit at Pearl-Cohn high school. He was the 2014 Class AA Mr. Football after rushing for more than 5,000 yards and 75 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons. He made an immediate impact with the Illini, rushing for 723 yards as a true freshman, but had his role reduced under new head coach Lovie Smith last fall.
Vaughn made his choice official on Twitter Tuesday.
It Wouldn't Mean Nothing If I Couldn't Go Back To Where I'm Good At . #AnchorDown ⚓️ #615 pic.twitter.com/028pjheFRg— Ke'Shawn Vaughn (@ThaLa5tKing) January 31, 2017
His timing couldn’t be better. He’ll sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules, but will have a year of practice under his belt when he competes for the vacated starting spot Ralph Webb will leave behind. Webb, the program’s all-time leading rusher, will leave a big hole in the Commodore offense when he graduates in 2018.
Vaughn, a 5’10, 210 pound running back, has the strength to run inside the tackles and the speed to break runs off near the sideline. If he breaks into the open field, he has the talent to beat just about anybody in a foot race to the end zone.
He’ll have the opportunity to be the latest link in Vanderbilt’s revival at tailback. Zac Stacy and Ralph Webb helped turn a moribund program into a postseason contender thanks to their ability to grind out yardage and score points. If Vaughn can live up to the potential he showed at Pearl-Cohn and in his first year at Illinois, he’ll be a worthy successor to the two greatest backs in Commodore history.