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22 DAYS TO 2022 KICKOFF: Deuce Vaughn

In which BracketCat counts down the 22nd day until the 2022 kickoff with a profile of Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn.

#22 Deuce Vaughn
Is a caption even needed here? Star running back Deuce Vaughn (22) stands on the cusp of what could be the eagerly waited greatest statistical season by a K-State running back not named Darren Sproles in history. Thus completes Double Deuce Day of our ‘22 countdown. Is it an omen...?
Photo by Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Buckle up, folks, this is going to be a LONG one. :-)

#22 Deuce Vaughn

True Junior | 5-6 | 176 lbs. | Round Rock, Texas
Deuce Vaughn
Deuce Vaughn
Courtesy Kansas State Athletics
  • Position: Running Back
  • Previous College: None
  • Projection: Starter
  • Status: On Scholarship

Christopher Matthew “Deuce” Vaughn II (b. Nov. 2, 2001) is a speedy, shifty running back from Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock, Texas, who signed in the Class of 2020.

Already the consensus greatest K-State running back not named Darren Sproles by any rational statistical measure, Vaughn enters the 2022 season ranking first among all active non-kickers in career points per game (8.1), second among active players in career all-purpose yards per game (134.48), fifth in rushing yards per carry (5.7) and total touchdowns scored (31), eighth in rush yards per game (89.0), and tied for eighth in rushing scores (25).

A true dual threat, he also ranks seventh nationally through the 2020 and 2021 seasons with 128.2 scrimmage yards per game, and ranks second nationally among running backs over the 2020 and 2021 seasons with 902 receiving yards.

In Big 12 Conference lore, Vaughn enters the 2022 season ranked third in Big 12 history in scrimmage (rushing plus receiving) yards per touch (6.8), just behind Oklahoma’s Kennedy Brooks (7.0) and Texas’ Vince Young (6.9).

He ranks seventh with 128.2 scrimmage yards per game, is tied for eighth all-time among Big 12 running backs with six receiving touchdowns, and leads all Big 12 running backs in catches and receiving yards both this year and over the last two seasons combined.

Vaughn enters his junior campaign ranked second in school history in career rushing yards per attempt (5.72). He is tied for second in 100-yard rushing games (12), including a current streak of six straight games, which is also tied for the second-longest streak.

Vaughn averages 89 rushing yards per game to rank third at KSU, is tied for ninth with 25 rush touchdowns, and ranks 11th in rushing yards (2,046), just 136 yards shy of the top 10.

He has two of the seven 100-yard receiving games by a running back/fullback in school history and now is trying to become the very first player in school history — and only the 11th in Big 12 history — with 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in a career, needing just 98 measly receiving yards in 2022 to accomplish that significant feat.

Vaughn ranks second in receiving yards (902) and third in receptions (74) among K-State running backs and fullbacks. He also ranks fifth in all-purpose yards per game (134.5) and 12th in total all-purpose yards (3,093), the latter mark being 57 yards away from the top 10.

The only player in school history to reach 3,000 all-purpose yards prior to the end of his sophomore year, Vaughn is now tied for fifth in total touchdowns (31), while his 186 career points are 26 shy of entering the top 10. He ranks sixth in total scrimmage yards (2,948) and was the fifth-fastest player to top 1,000 career rushing yards (did it on his 183rd attempt).

One of the top true freshmen in the nation who made a splash in the first year of his career, Vaughn rushed for 642 yards and seven touchdowns on 123 carries, caught 25 passes for 434 yards and two touchdowns, and returned seven kickoffs for 145 yards in 2020.

He led the Wildcats in rushing yards, receiving yards and all-purpose yards (1,221) as he was named the True Freshman of the Year by 247Sports, a Freshman All-American by The Athletic and the Football Writers Association of America, and an honorable mention All-American by Phil Steele and Pro Football Focus.

Vaughn also was named the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year by the league’s coaches, while he was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press for that pandemic-shortened season.

He was the first Wildcat true freshman in the Big 12 era (since 1996) to earn first- or second-team All-Big 12 honors on offense, and he also was a semifinalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award as the top collegiate football player with Texas ties.

Vaughn “only” set K-State freshman records for rushing yards, yards from scrimmage (1,076) and all-purpose yards, while he finished second in rushing touchdowns and third in receiving yards. He is the only running back in the top five in the latter category.

After just one season, Vaughn also was already ranked fourth in school history in receiving yards among all running backs, regardless of class. He is ranked fourth in school history in points scored by a freshman and is the only non-kicker on that list.

Vaughn was one of only three players in the nation to tally at least 600 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards on the year, joining fellow running backs Travis Etienne (Clemson) and Najee Harris (Alabama).

He was the only player in the Big 12 to lead his team in both rushing yards and receiving yards, and he ranked first in the nation among all true freshmen in scrimmage yards (1,076), leading the player in second place by 158 yards.

Vaughn ranked second in the Big 12 Conference in all-purpose yards (122.1 yards per game), fourth in rushing (64.2 yards for game), tied for fourth in touchdown scoring (5.4) and 10th in overall scoring; he was the only freshman to rank in the top 10 in the latter category.

He had 194 scrimmage yards (113 rushing and 81 receiving) against Texas Tech, the most by a Wildcat true freshman in the Big 12 era. That came on the heels of 174 scrimmage yards (45 rushing and 129 receiving) in K-State’s win at No. 3 Oklahoma.

Vaughn rightfully earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors following his heroic performances against both the Sooners and Red Raiders.

His 129 receiving yards against Oklahoma were the most by a K-State running back since 1970 and just the sixth 100-yard receiving game by a running back in school history. It also was the fifth-most receiving yards ever by a Big 12 running back (and most by a freshman).

Vaughn had a 77-yard reception at Oklahoma, teaming with fellow true freshman (and now former Wildcat and current Miami of Ohio player) Keyon Mozee to become the first set of K-State teammates in school history with catches of at least 77 yards in the same game.

He then scored on a 70-yard reception against Texas Tech, the first Wildcat with a catch of at least 70 yards in consecutive regular-season games since Tyler Lockett in 2013 (Oklahoma and TCU).

Vaughn also tallied 125 rushing yards against Texas, tied for the fifth most in school history among freshmen. In all, he totaled 221 all-purpose yards against the Longhorns, the most by a Wildcat true freshman since Tyler Lockett again, at Oklahoma State in 2011 (315).

Vaughn entered 2021 as a preseason candidate for multiple awards as he was named to the 2021 Maxwell Award, Doak Walker Award and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award watch lists, while Phil Steele named him to his 2021 Preseason All-American team (all-purpose).

His encore season was even more impressive that his debut. Vaughn finished 2021 as only the 11th player in school history to be named a consensus All-American and the first since 2014 (Tyler Lockett, yet again).

He earned first-team All-American honors as an all-purpose player from the Associated Press and as an athlete from Sporting New, and was a second-team selection at running back by USA TODAY and honored as an all-purpose player by CBS Sports and the American Football Coaches Association. Vaughn also was an honorable mention pick by Phil Steele.

One of five finalists for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, he also was named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by both the league’s coaches and Associated Press, while also earning the coaches’ votes for offensive player of the year.

One of three players in the nation with 1,000 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards in 2021, Vaughn ranked fourth nationally with 22 total touchdowns, while he was fifth in points per game (10.2). He ranked sixth with 144 all-purpose yards per game, while he was fifth in scrimmage yards per game and finished eighth in the country in rushing touchdowns (18), and he was ninth in both total rushing yards (1,404) and rushing yards per game (108).

Vaughn ranked 10th in total points scored (132), but fourth among non-kickers.. He also ranked 24th in rushing yards per carry (5.97) and tied for fifth in the nation (but second among Power 5 players) with 59 touches that went for 10 or more yards, as 20.8 percent of his 284 touches went for at least 10 yards.

He also tallied 3.8 receptions per game to rank ninth in the Big 12 Conference and was the only running back in the league in the top 10.

As for K-State marks, Vaughn ranked fourth with 1,404 rushing yards, while he was fifth in rushing touchdowns and ninth in attempts. His 2021 rushing total was second in school history among sophomores (surpassed only by the 1,465 by Darren Sproles in 2002).

Vaughn totaled nine 100-yard rushing games to tie for second and finish one game shy of tying the record (Darren Sproles, again in 2002). He tied for the fourth-fastest player to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a season (doing so on his 182nd attempt) and finished fourth in rushing yards per attempt (5.97), while he was seventh in rushing yards per game (108).

Vaughn had a five-game stretch of 100 rushing yards early last season, tied for the fourth-longest streak, and he also had 49 receptions on the year, the fourth most in school history among sophomores and the third-highest ever by a K-State running back or fullback.

He totaled 1,872 all-purpose yards to rank fifth, as that mark was the second-highest in terms of yards from scrimmage (trailing only the 2,273 yards by Darren Sproles in 2003).

Vaughn scored 132 points in 2021, the third highest among all players and the new school record by a sophomore. He also ranked third in total touchdowns (22).

Vaughn ended the 2021 season by rushing for 146 yards — the second-highest output of his career — and three touchdowns in K-State’s win over LSU in the Texas Bowl. He also hauled in a receiving touchdown as his 24 points scored set a new K-State bowl record.

Vaughn also tied the school’s bowl record for rushing touchdowns, while his 146 rushing yards ranked third and his 21 rushes tied for sixth. His 24 points in the Texas Bowl tied for fourth in any game in school history, and his four touchdowns tied for third.

Vaughn posted a career-best 162 rushing yards to go along with 70 receiving yards at Kansas. Although he only had 11 rushing attempts against the Jayhawks, his 14.7-yard average ranked third in school history (requiring a minimum of 10 attempts). His game at KU featured an 80-yard touchdown run, tied for the seventh-longest rush in school history.

Vaughn broke the 1,000-yard career rushing mark during the Nevada game, becoming the fourth player in school history to reach 1,000 yards prior to the end of his sophomore season (joining Darren Sproles, Alex Barnes and Daniel Sams).

He had 10 receptions against Oklahoma, tied for the most by a K-State running back or fullback in the Big 12 Conference era (along with Darren Sproles vs. Texas Tech in 2004).

His 10 catches against the Sooners also ranked second in school history by a sophomore.

A marketing major, Vaughn enters 2022 as a preseason All-Big 12 honoree and was the only consensus player to be so honored on the offensive side of the ball. (Not even the great Bijan Robinson could claim that honor!) He also is listed again on the 2022 Doak Walker Award and Maxwell Award watch lists, and has a good chance of claiming one or both...

Vaughn prepped under head coach Sam Robinson at Cedar Ridge High School, where he was regarded as the 17th-best all-purpose back in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports and also named the 2018 and 2019 District 13-6A Offensive Most Valuable Player.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors from the Texas Sports Writers Association as a high school junior and had 5,472 career all-purpose yards for the Raiders with 50 TDs, rushing for 4,405 yards and 38 scores to go with 914 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.

Vaughn also returned four kicks for 153 yards and a touchdown, set school records for single-season rushing yardage (1,940) and single-game rushing yards (406), lettered three years in track and field, and was an honorable mention Academic All-State performer.

He chose K-State over offers from Air Force, Arkansas, Army, Missouri, North Texas and South Florida, as well as interest from Baylor, Kansas, Minnesota, SMU, TCU and Virginia Tech. Vaughn’s chief recruiter was his position coach, running backs coach Brian Anderson.

His father, Chris, is an NFL scout for the Dallas Cowboys, while he spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach at Arkansas, Ole Miss, Memphis and Texas after playing at Murray State.

Head coach Chris Klieman was very high on Vaughn’s potential as a big-play running back:

“Deuce is an electric guy; he’s a home-run hitter. He’s got great quicks, but he’s got a second gear to take it the distance. He is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, as well. He has really good hands, so he will allow us to do a lot of things. Whether we have him in the backfield, which we plan on, putting him flexed out like we have done with Phillip (Brooks), or the return game. You can’t have enough explosive players, and he brings that to the table.”

If anything, this might have been an understatement. Now buckle up for what might be one of the greatest seasons by a K-State running back and Heisman candidate we’ll ever see!