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Football

Let’s Enjoy a Very Wholesome Cowboys Draft Moment

Meet running back Deuce Vaughn, who not only the most fun player Dallas drafted but the best story, too.
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An appropriately wholesome photo of Deuce Vaughn to accompany said wholesome draft story. Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Before we go any further, know that I’m not here to provide wisdom about the Cowboys’ draft beyond what I turned in Friday morning on first-round pick Mazi Smith. The esteemed Dan Morse will be doing plenty of that later this morning. Instead, I would like to offer feelings on just one player.

His name is Deuce Vaughn, and, on merit, he is far and away the most accomplished player in Dallas’ draft, despite being selected in the sixth round. The 21-year-old running back exited Kansas State as one of two players in Big XII history to record 3,600 rushing yards and 1,200 receiving yards in a career, joining ex-Cowboy DeMarco Murray, which probably had something to do with his scoring consensus All-American honors in 2021 and unanimous All-American honors in 2022. The only Wildcats who recorded as many all-purpose yards were Darren Sproles and Tyler Lockett, and all they did was play a combined 23 NFL seasons and counting (Lockett is still active).

That’s the sort of résumé that would make Vaughn a shoo-in for selection were it not for one thing: he is is 5-foot-5, 179 pounds.

That’s why one of the draft’s most accomplished players, and one of its toughest to tackle, had to sweat out the better part of three days wondering whether he’d get a shot in the NFL. And were this your typical underdog story, we’d call it a day and get excited for Vaughn to scurry around gargantuan blockers like a mouse in a hedge maze.

But we press on, because I am only now arriving at the best part: Vaughn’s father just happens to be Cowboys scout Chris Vaughn. And when it came time for the younger Vaughn to hear the good news, guess who gave him the call?

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/1652465564231561217

Because I am a giver, if you have not already run through the nearest box of Kleenex, here’s Chris Vaughn giving a post-draft interview about his son:

Once you dam the flood of tears running down your cheeks, you can read more about the Vaughns’ story courtesy of ESPN’s Todd Archer here. You should, too, because the whole thing is just a delight. Also featured is Deuce’s mom, Marquette, who gets in people’s faces when they question whether her son can block and mean mugged her NFL scout husband when he was maybe, possibly about to suggest that another running back might be better than their son. Again: total delight.

For the record, and in the spirit of proffering an actual football opinion, I strongly believe Vaughn is an outlier whose track record is too impressive not to carve out a role in the NFL. There’s precedent, too: Sproles turned in a 15-year career while standing just 1 inch taller than Vaughn. We’re not the sort of folks who generally drop highlights in our posts, but I’m making an exception because this will be the most exciting five minutes you watch all day, and you probably need an emotional releveling after the short Hallmark film I left you earlier in the post:

So, yeah, I am here for the Deuce Vaughn Experience in its totality. And even if I weren’t, I would never admit it. I’m not about to get on Marquette Vaughn’s bad side.

Author

Mike Piellucci

Mike Piellucci

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Mike Piellucci is D Magazine's sports editor. He is a former staffer at The Athletic and VICE, and his freelance…
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