Ole Miss Recruiting Coordinator Chris Vaughn understands the pluses and minuses of recruiting to different schools.
He sees no minuses in recruiting to Ole Miss.
"Every school has different things to offer, but recruiting is recruiting in regards to what we will try to sell," Vaughn said. "We will sell the people here, the family feel we will have here, the traditions at Ole Miss and facilities that are second to none."
The territory, the geography, changes a good bit, but Vaughn believes it's for the better.
"We (Nutt's staff) are now more centrally located in the SEC. At Arkansas, we spent a lot of time in Texas due to proximity," he explained. "Now we feel we will be able to hit Florida, Georgia and Alabama harder and Memphis is an hour away. Atlanta is five hours away instead of 11.
"If we recruited kids from any of those areas to Arkansas, we hd to fly them in. Kids from Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Birmingham, Nashville and many places have an easy drive to Oxford. That makes a difference to families. We used to have a lot of official visits in Arkansas where the families would not come with the kids. Here, the families can come and see what we have to offer. And we still feel like we can recruit out of Texas due to our connections there and the fact that so many Texas kids come to school here."
Vaughn is also excited about the talent pool in Mississippi.
"There are some great athletes in this state, as good as any in the country. The numbers may not be as many as say Florida or Georgia, but Mississippi produces great athletes historically and in recruiting you start at home first," Vaughn continued.
Chris said he's not overly concerned about going from a school where they were the "only game in town" to a state where there are three Division I programs.
"These days, if a player is good enough, they get a universal look. Outside schools will come into any state and try to get your top players. The only major difference may be family ties. In Arkansas, virtually every kid grows up with Hogs stamped in their minds," he explained. "Here, I'm sure there are MSU and USM ties with some kids and Ole Miss ties with others. We have to take advantage of our ties and try to convert the others, but at the same time you have to be able to fend off LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee and others who would love to come into Mississippi and snatch some players from our home turf."
Chris said the Ole Miss staff will hit Florida hard due to sheer numbers and location.
"There are three states that have enough prospects to fill a lot of schools' needs - Texas, Florida and California. We hit Texas hard when we were at Arkansas becaause that was a border state. From Ole Miss, we will probably shift a lot of that attention to Florida, as I said, but we will still try to maintain connections in Texas, to a certain degree," he explained. "We are very excited about the opportunities the location of this univesity affords us.
"We also feel a lot better about being closer to Atlanta and Mobile and other hotbeds of talent."
Vaughn is also pumped up about his new home state having a strong junior college system. At Arkansas, they had to go out of state to Kansas, mostly, for JUCO talent.
"What a great resource we now have at our fingertips. We hve to be honest - not every kid coming out of high school is ready for major college academics or football, but they may be in two years after they mature," he explained. "If we really like a kid and want him to be a part of our family, but he can't make it academically, we can send him to junior college and get him back in two years. That is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal, something we didn't have at Arkansas.
"Certainly, we will have to develop ties with the different junior colleges. We will have to do a good job of being fair with our placements and helping as many JUCOs as we can. We will have to do a good job building those relationships and maintaining them. We are already familiar with some JUCOs, but some of them we aren't, but we will be."
From a facility standpoint, Chris is overwhelmed.
"I thought Arkansas had the best facilities in America. Since I have come here, I don't think that as much any more," he said bluntly. "Every school has differences where one thing may be better than another, but these facilities have no holes.
"The IPF is as nice as it gets. We can punt on our indoor practice field. We have an unbelievable locker room and player's lounge. The weight room is right here and very nice. There is a major advantage to having everything under one roof and centralized. The whole footbal plant is right here. The Fed Ex Academic Center on the other end of the stadium may be the first stop we make on our recruiting tour because it is unbelievable, amazing. A showcase."
The centralization of facilities also promotes what Nutt's staff is all about.
"We want our players around us a lot. We are a family. We want them in the lounge and in the academic center and visiting with us. We are very hands-on. We love being around our players and they will love being around us. We will have a great atmosphere for players in this building. And that will help with recruiting," he said. "When a recruit comes here and our current players are talking about how much they love being around our football plant a lot, that sells the program."
The new Rebel staff, Vaughn said, is a little behind with this year's recruiting, but he feels they will catch up quickly.
"Transition is not easy. We are a little behind and to say anything else would not be true, but we have confidence we can, and will, catch up," he continued. "Once a recruit gets an opportunity to listen to us face-to-face, we will make up a lot of ground.
"We will not get every recruit we are after - nobody does, especially in a transition, but we will have a good recruiting year."
Vaughn is also one of two defensive back coaches, Kim Dameron being the other. Right now, it appears Vaughn will handle the corners and Dameron will take the safeties.
"We will be aggressive. I already know that from talking with Tyrone (Nix). It's been awesome spending time with him. I have always looked up to him because he earned DC status so early in his career. We are both young coaches who will feed off each other. I am looking forward to working with him and learning from him. We will build a great defense at Ole Miss."
Chris Vaughn -
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