REWIND: Tyler Vaughns blew up in the spring of his sophomore year playing for Body By Tra Athletics seven-on-seven team. Vaughn would go on to catch 83 passes for 1183-yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior last season.
Vaughns is rated the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver and the No. 25 player overall by Scout. He attended half a day of the Rising Stars Camp and was one of team Hypercool’s leading receivers at The Opening Finals.
In June, Vaughns announced he would make a college commitment Aug. 22. While he does not have a top list of favorite options, of the schools he wants to officially visit, only USC and Georgia have offered him scholarships.
PAUSE: USC has been projected to land Vaughns since his sophomore season, and that projection has not changed. The biggest question now revolves around his fit within the Trojans current lineup of wide receivers.
Vaughns is a bit of a tweener as a wide receiver. He has the body of a flanker, but the skill set of a split end. Meaning, at 6-foot-2, 175-pounds, he’s not a big session receiver. Yet, he lacks the speed to be the vertical threat Velus Jones is.
What Vaughns has are great hands, ball skills and body control. Vaughns catches the 50-50 ball better than any wide out in USC’s current committed class and better than any receiver on the target list. Vaughn scratched all of his NIKE Football Combine scores, so it’s not just a matter of out leaping cornerbacks.
Vaughns high-points the ball well but has strong enough hands and body control to win possession. Unfortunately, he finds himself in a lot of instances where the catch is contested due to his methodically route running and lack of explosiveness in his breaks.
For those looking for a relevant comparison to former USC receivers, Dwayne Jarrett comes to mind. Vaughns isn’t as tall as Jarrett, but he often plays like he is 6-foot-5 when the ball is in the air. And like Jarrett, Vaughns is not a overly physical receiver. He doesn’t match up with Josh Imatorbhebhe or Michael Pittman in that respect.
At USC, Vaughns would play outside the hash marks as a flanker or split end. Vaughns plays best from a fixed point in the offense and would be less likely to move around much within a given formation. In that respect, he is a pure receiver and not a hybrid athlete that should be playing behind the line of scrimmage with screens and motion hand offs.
FAST FORWARD: Vaughns will commit Aug. 22 and then plan his five official visits. But seeing that he has listed schools as potential visit destinations that have yet to offer him a scholarship, how many visits he actually takes remains to be seen.
Vaughns has work to do in the class room, so although he plans to explore his options beyond his decision date, expect USC to encourage him to buckle down and focus on his academics first. That is the reason why his options haven’t expanded as a five-star receiver since last year.
REWIND: Citra (Fla.) North Marion four-star wide receiver Freddie Swain hails from the backyard of the Florida Gators but released a favorites list consisting of USC, Tennessee, Alabama and Miami.
Swain was a stand out at the Rising Stars, spending four days in Southern California during the trip. He then headed to The Opening Finals where he posted a 4.54 40-yards dash, 4.37 shuttle run and a 35.7 vertical leap. Solid numbers for a wide out who had 54 receptions for 840-yards and six touchdowns as a junior.
PAUSE: Swain is a possession receiver who runs smooth routes and works himself open in traffic. At 6-foot, 185-pounds, Swain isn’t the man child Josh Imatorbhebhe is physically, yet he still bodies up defenders well and feels his way into open passing window.
Swain has garnered some comparisons to former USC wide out Robert Woods, although Swain is not quite the overall athlete Woods was coming out of high school. Still, Swain has consistent hands and is very reliable catching the ball in traffic. He has decent speed, but he gets separation in his routes from technique and smarts.
Swain was one of the leading receivers in The Opening Finals passing tournament, averaging six catches ever game. Swain is a flanker, and like Tyler Vaughns, as very pure receiver at that. He won’t accumulate many yards after catch and does most of his damage underneath the coverage.
FAST FORWARD: Swain attended the Florida Friday Night Lights Camp, but it still appears the Gators are on the outside looking in of his recruitment. Seeing that Swain’s top four of USC, Tennessee, Miami and Alabama came on the heels of his trip to Los Angeles, the Trojans are in a very good position to land his commitment.
The biggest question with Swain is the timing of his announcement. He will commit Oct. 30 when North Marion plays Hoover on ESPN. By then, USC will likely have five wide receiver commits, or five commitments from prospects projected to start out as wide receivers. Swain seems oblivious to the competition, and USC is still pursuing him as a priority recruit.
While wide receivers like Miami (Fla.) three-star Keyshawn Young, Chandler (Ariz.) four-star N’Keal Harry, Tampa (Fla.) five-star Nate Craig and Westlake Village (Calif.) four-star Theo Howard are still in contact with USC, Swain and Vaughns appear to be penciled into the Trojans’ future plans.
With that in mind, we break down the group of six potential wide receiver commits in the class of 2016 further. We rank the three best receivers in 10 receiving categories. These rankings reflect in-game attributes and not testing numbers alone.
Top End Speed (TES), Acceleration (ACC), Change of Direction Speed (COD), Elusiveness (ELU), Awareness (AWR) Route Running (RRN), Catching in the Air (AIR), Catching in Traffic (TRF), Tackle Breaking (BRK) and Jumping (JMP).
TES: Velus Jones | Josh Imatorbhebhe | Freddie Swain
ACC: Trevon Sidney | Velus Jones | Josh Imatorbhebhe
COD: Trevon Sidney | Velus Jones | Josh Imatorbhebhe
ELU: Trevon Sidney | Velus Jones | Freddie Swain
AWR: Tyler Vaughns | Freddie Swain | Trevon Sidney
RRN: Freddie Swain | Trevon Sidney | Velus Jones
AIR: Tyler Vaughns | Josh Imatorbhebhe | Michael Pittman
TRF: Josh Imatorbehbhe | Freddie Swain | Tyler Vaughns
BRK: Michael Pittman | Josh Imatorbhebhe | Trevon Sidney
JMP: Josh Imatorbhebhe | Tyler Vaughns | Trevon Sidney