Cassius Vaughn -

Junior Cassius Vaughn has withstood all challengers and appears to be headed for a starting position at one of the cornerback slots. Read his comments about his fall camp inside.

Junior Cornerback Cassius Vaughn has a comedic, big personality his teammates relate to and a flamboyant style of play that draws the eyes of fans.

But throughout his Rebel career, he's rarely been the focal point of any conversation.

As a true freshman, he successfully played in all 12 games on special teams. As a sophomore, he started three games at corner and also handled special teams duties.

In spring, he earned one of the number one cornerback slots, but the focus was on Marshay Green and Dustin Mouzon battling it out for the other CB position.

It seems it's still that way, yet Cassius keeps smiling, keeps producing and keeps pleasing his coach, Chris Vaughn.

And just as importantly, he's pleasing himself with his play.

"I'm doing OK," said Vaughn. "You are never too good to get better, but I'm pleased with my direction and the team's direction.

"I feel like I have gotten a lot better compared to my first two years. Most of the improvement has been mental, which is where I needed to improve."

Chris Vaughn has challenged Cassius to learn the game more thoroughly and the talented Rebel has accepted the edict.

"I needed to calm down and learn to understand the game rather than just play the game," he continued. "The older players helped me with the first part and Coach Vaughn helped me with the second part. I give them a lot of credit for helping me through that major learning curve."

Cassius says there's a lot more to playing corner than meets the eye.

"You have to learn the game, study the game, watch film, and pick up the small things in order to play faster and make the right decisions," he noted. "When I was a freshman, and even last year, I was doing a lot of guessing. Now, I know what I'm supposed to do and how it all fits into the defensive scheme. As a result, I am playing much faster now and I am playing more effectively as well."

When some things started coming together for Cassius, he knew he had matured.

"It kind of makes you feel dumb about how you used to play when you get something and really know you have it," he smiled. "It's all about maturity and learning.

"I know the new defense a lot better, a whole lot better, than I knew the old one and I was in it for two years. I have only been in this one six months. I'm more mature and our coaches explain things where we can understand the concepts and grasp things more quickly."

When the coaches moved Marshay Green and Jeremy McGee to corner in spring, Cassius said the veteran corners did not take that personally.

"It was not about any individual, it was about the team," Cassius explained. "It didn't insult me or (Dustin) Mouzon. We want the team to be better, no matter who is playing. If it was me or Marshay or Jeremy or Dustin, whoever won the job, we'd know the best players were out there and that's all that counts.

"Having them over there has helped us all and created good competition. Marshay has the heart of a lion, Jeremy too, and their addition to the corner positions has made us all better. They may or may not start, but they are a big part of our unit and will play a lot."

Scheme-wise, Vaughn is excited about the tools he and the other players will have to work with.

"We are balanced. You can't pick on one thing, because Coach (Tyrone) Nix will hit you with something else from another angle. He's a great coordinator. He's tough, but he's fair," Cassius stated. "People want to use the word aggressive. Coach Nix is aggressive, that's true, but I think we are just more balanced than we've been and he feels comfortable, or is getting that way, making more aggressive calls."

Vaughn has bought in to the team concept being preached by the current coaching staff.

"Since Coach (Hosuton) Nutt got here, it's all been about team. Respect for each other. Being accountable to your teammates. Doing things together," he said. "Coach Nutt always says it's a privilege to be on the team, not a right, and that we have to treat it that way and treat each other that way.

"I can tell a big difference in my play and I can tell a big difference in the atmosphere on the whole team."

Cassius Vaughn has been known as the "other CB" for a while. Expect that to change.

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