Vaughns talks USC and Texas

La Puente (Calif.) four-star junior wide out Tyler Vaughns has racked up a lot touchdown catches and frequent flyer miles in 2014.

Bishop Amat junior wide out Tyler Vaughns has made a name for himself with performances in three states this year.

Vaughns, who stars on both sides of the football for the Lancers as a cornerback and receiver, was a standout at the IMG Passing Championship in Bradenton (Fla.) last summer. Already demonstrating his prowess over the past six months in California, Vaughns and the Lancers flew to Aledo (Texas) last Friday to represent CIF football.

“The mindset was to start strong and to finish strong,” said Vaughns. “If we lose, we represent Cali ball and what Cali is about.

“We had to go out there and beat them badly, which we did. I was happy with how we played. We showed them we’re not just going to bow down because we’re in your state.”

Bishop Amat beat the top ranked team in Texas 5A football 42-7 with Vaughns scoring a 36-yard touchdown reception. In beating Aledo, Amat had to contend with four-star wide receiver Ryan Newsome.

“Yeah, we knew he was one of the main guys we had to lock down,” said Vaughns. “So me or Trevon (Sidney) had to cover him most of the game. But they didn’t really get him the ball, so I can’t say he really challenged us.”

The week before, Vaughns and Bishop Amat lost a hard fought game to Santa Margarita 26-21. Although Vaughns doesn’t paint himself as a vocal leader for the Lancers, he made it a point to get the team focused after the loss.

“We went back on Monday and I talked to my teammates about our next game,” said Vaughns. “We were going to travel, we were going to be in their state in front of a hostile crowd, so we just had to play our game.”

Unlike against Santa Margarita, Vaughns played on both sides of the football for four quarters in Texas. At 6-foot-2, 180-pounds, Vaughns playmaking ability in the air makes him a deadly receiving threat, but his length and speed also reflect the new trend at the cornerback position.

“I’m just about playing and wherever my team needs me, that’s where I’ll play,” said Vaughns. “That goes for college too. I’ll play wherever my team needs me — corner or receiver.”

Vaughns attended USC’s home opener against Fresno State with his teammate, Trevon Sidney. While Vaughns expected a Trojan victory, he didn’t expect the final score or how it was achieved.

“They came out just firing,” said Vaughns. “I thought they might have a slow start, but USC came out and killed them the whole game.”

Vaughns has been to USC several times and the Trojan coaching staff has given him a lot to think about each time he visits.

“Sometimes they talk like I should just go ahead with the process, but then other times I can tell they just want me to commit already so I can just start fitting in with the team,” said Vaughns. “I do feel like it’s home already.

“I’ve been going there and I haven’t really been to any other colleges. Me, Dylan Crawford, K.J. (Costello) and Trevon joke about committing sometimes. We should just commit today and stop playing, but it’s just talk, really.”

While in Texas, Vaughns also caught some of the USC win over Stanford.

“I didn’t get to see that much of it,” said Vaughns. “I just wanted to see the score because I wanted them to win, badly. I knew their defense was solid, so I was just hoping they could it shut down and pull out the win.”

USC’s freshmen class has had a big impact early in the season for the Trojans, and that hasn’t been an overlooked aspect by Vaughns or his peers.

“I’ve been mostly watching Adoree Jackson and Juju Smith,” said Vaughns. “Adoree is playing both ways and Juju Smith is just killing it on offense. He had that big run in the Fresno game, and I was just like, ‘Yeah, that could be me in a couple years.’”

It’s rare that any player contributes on both offense and defense at the D-I level. The fact that Jackson has done it as a freshman has been that much more impressive to Vaughns.

“I didn’t think he would be a true freshman doing that,” said Vaughns. “I thought next year maybe, but not this year. I am surprised to see him doing that.”

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