James Vaughters (6-3, 220, 4.55) from Tucker, Ga., and one of the top 2011 middle linebackers, took an unofficial visit to USC this last weekend. Despite the Trojans being lit up by the Cardinal, his father said they had a great time while at USC on Saturday.
"Overall, I think it was a very positive experience," said Vaughters about James' visit to USC this weekend. "It was kind of interesting that even in the face of a loss, the way they handled it was very impressive. It wasn't like there were people in the locker room throwing stuff, getting angry or blaming anyone. They were still composed and I felt they appreciated we came out and made the visit, so that was good."
USC has had some recent success recruiting the state of Georgia signing wide receiver Brice Butler in 2008 and linebacker Jarvis Jones in February. We asked Jonathan Vaughters what led James to the decision to visit USC for the second time?
"Well, he's being recruited by USC and has an offer from USC, so James really wanted to see what the game day experience was like," Vaughters said. "We've had a couple of other visits this year and he wanted to have something to compare it to."
The next question was, is there a good chance we'll see James return for an official visit next fall?
"Absolutely, absolutely" said Vaughters when asked if USC is a school his son will seriously consider taking an official visit to.
It's always an advantage for a school thousands of miles away to have a few players from the same state or region as an elite prospect it's recruiting. Mr. Vaughters said James had an opportunity to speak with fellow Georgians Brice Butler and Jarvis Jones after the game.
"We had a chance to talk to Brice this summer when we visited and then James had a chance to visit with him in the locker room after the game," said Vaughters. "It was his first opportunity to meet Jarvis. The conversation we had with Brice was basically about the game. I thought he had a great game and was one of the bright spots on the day. He sounded somber about the loss, so we didn't have an in-depth conversation about his time at USC. But we had a chance to talk about his experience at USC when we visited in the summer."
Ken Norton has had many recruiting successes with out-of-state players and he made a solid first impression on James and Jonathan Vaughters.
"It was our first time meeting him and he's certainly energetic and has a great resume," said Vaughters about his impression on Ken Norton. "What little time we got to spend with him on Saturday was very positive. He's very personable and a very likeable guy and we were impressed."
Although Vaughters said they only spoke briefly with USC head football coach Pete Carroll after the game, James' previous visit to USC in July provided him and his father an opportunity for a lengthy talk with Carroll. Their visit in July also allowed them to get a detailed look at the campus and The Marshall School of Business.
"We maybe spoke to Coach Caroll all of about two minutes after he got done with the press-conferences," Vaughters said. "But we had about an hour with him this summer, so that was really a chance to spend some quality time with him when there wasn't as much going on as there was Saturday. We kind of snuck in under the radar in July and it just happened to be a day when Coach Carroll could be in his office. Most of the coaches were on vacation. But we got to walk around campus and it was during summer school, so you didn't get the same feeling as it would be during the regular school year. "We had a chance to tour the business school and talk to some of the personnel over there, because that is potentially one of the areas James is interested in. So, we had great visit this summer and it gave us an opportunity to just focus on the game day experience this trip."
After the game, James and his father visited one of the most popular coastal locations in southern California.
"I took him over to the Santa Monica Pier on Saturday night, just to give him a little taste of L.A.," said Vaughters on what he and James did after the game. "I took him on a quick tour because in the amount of time we were there, you can only see so much. So that was the extent of the trip, other than attending the game."
USC is always working hard in convincing their top prospects to attend one of its June camps, and it's no different with James Vaughters, even though he already has a scholarship offer.
"They talked about that this summer and talked about it again on Saturday," said Vaughters about the USC coaches interest in James attending a USC camp this summer. "We're going to look into it and see how it fits into his schedule and I want him to focus on some other football stuff, as well. Plus he's going to spend a lot of time focusing on his senior year, too. But it's certainly something on our list to try and fit in."
If Vaughters does attend a camp at USC, a few months later he could very likely make a decision on a school and announce his verbal commitment.
"I think right now, his inclination is to make a decision before the next season starts, but we'll wait and see if he has enough information for forego taking his official visits," said Vaughters. "He's had a chance to visit quite a few schools and I think he's getting a feel for them, but I kind of think it might be best to wait and take the official visits. We'll just have to wait and see, but I do think he'd like to make a decision on a school so he can focus on school and his senior season."
SCPlaybook will have more from James Vaughters in the upcoming weeks.