Safety benefits from camps, connections

With three offers and two favorites in mind, Robert Vaughn is waiting to see what other scholarship opportunities arise

Ability, exposure and access have coalesced to broaden the scope of safety Robert Vaughn's recruitment. And it appears that three scholarship offers may be just the beginning for the class of 2006 athlete from North Attleboro, Mass.

Vaughn (6-foot, 195 pounds) has offers from Wisconsin, Connecticut and Temple. The Badgers and Huskies are in his top five, he said in a telephone interview Tuesday, but how the rest of his favorite quintet fills out is contingent on what additional offers he receives. Vaughn is also being recruited heavily by Syracuse, Boston College, Nebraska and Notre Dame and he is hoping to hear from Tennessee and Ohio State.

"I'd definitely put Wisconsin and UConn right now in my top five," Vaughn said. "I know for a fact that I'm using one of my officials for Wisconsin."

Vaughn might not take an official visit to UConn, though, because the Storrs, Conn., campus is just 80 miles from North Attleboro.

"Schools like that I might not even have to use my officials because I can get up there easily," he said.

Vaughn did not have any scholarship offers before he attended the Elite College Combine in Randolph, N.J. May 4. UW and UConn were among the many schools on hand at that event. Just two days afterwards, Badger co-offensive coordinator Brian White, who is recruiting Vaughn for UW, informed him that he had a scholarship offer from Wisconsin.

The Huskies soon followed; they had already been recruiting Vaughn but the Elite event sealed the deal. Vaughn said he did well in the defensive back drills at the combine, and he said he recorded a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, a 4.37-second short shuttle and a 9-foot, 5-inch broad jump.

"My performance at the Elite Combine it just rose my stock more with them, which I think that helped a lot for them to actually offer me," Vaughn said.

By the time May was in the books, Vaughn had been the recipient of phone calls and school evaluation visits from Nebraska, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Syracuse and Division I-AA programs Northeastern and New Hampshire. He also received phone calls from UConn, Temple and Boston College.

In addition to the Elite camp, Vaughn attended a Nike camp in Michigan this spring. More recently, he took part in a camp at Boston College June 29 and one at Syracuse June 30-July 1. He expects to take an unofficial visit to UW still this summer.

"I talked to coach Brian White like every other week on the phone," Vaughn said. "I call him and we're getting to know each other pretty well… I'm trying to get out there for this summer to see it, maybe get out to go to one of their practices or whatever and hang out and then I'm still definitely using one of them as my officials."

Vaughn also has a good relationship with White's brother, Chris White, who is the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at Syracuse.

"They are probably the two that I have the best relationships with through the whole recruiting process," Vaughn said of the White brothers. "I talk to them more than anybody."

Vaughn, though, used another connection for access to the Syracuse program. His brother, Marcus, is member of the Orange track team. As a freshman last year, Marcus finished sixth in the Big East Outdoors in the 110 meter hurdles and eighth in the 60 hurdles at the Big East Indoors.

"He gave my tape to the Syracuse coach and they liked me a lot," Vaughn said. "They say that I'm pretty high on their stock right now."

Vaughn has other helpful connections. Living in North Attleboro, which is situated between Providence, R.I. and Boston, has its advantages. Vaughn is friends with the son of New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears. Through that relationship, he said he has known first-year Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, the Patriots' former offensive coordinator, for about a year-and-a-half.

And a friend of Vaughn's family is former Patriots cornerback Roland James, who spent 10 seasons as the head coach at nearby Sharon High School after retiring from an 11-season NFL career. He is currently the director of the Somerville Community Youth Center.

"He was an All-American at Tennessee. He was a captain at Tennessee his senior year and everything," Vaughn said. "He said that he wanted to give a call to Tennessee for me. And he said that he also knows people at Ohio State, so he's getting on that."

But while there are other schools Vaughn is hoping to receive scholarship offers from, Wisconsin and UConn are already ensconced among his favorites.

Why does he like those two schools?

"Wisconsin, just the relationship I have with Coach White right now," Vaughn said. "Since day one when I went to Elite College Combine in New Jersey and they offered me like two days after. He basically puts an emphasis on how much he thinks I'm a special guy and everything. And I like that a lot.

"Just the things he has to say about the school. And not only that — things that other people have to say about the school. I know some people around here that have went to the school (not for athletics) and they have nothing but good things to say about it. So that's really nice.

"He just said that it's like the best place and everything.

"What I'm looking for in a school is the coach and everything and I know that Barry Alvarez is going to stay there.

"And UConn. The same thing. The coaching thing. Randy Edsall, he's doing good so it looks like he's going to stay there and everything.

"What I like about both the schools, which I like a lot is… they are really good academic-wise.

"The first thing we talked about when I went to UConn during their spring practice was all the academics. And they're really strict on that. I like that a lot.

"Most of the time when I ask people about Wisconsin they think of them as like a high academic school, before saying anything about their football team."

Vaughn does not have a major picked out, but he is considering a field related to law and justice.

Most schools recruiting Vaughn are looking at him as a strong safety, but in addition to safety, Vaughn plays running back and receiver at North Attleboro. Temple is recruiting Vaughn as an athlete capable of playing running back, receiver, safety or outside linebacker.

Vaughn likes his chances of receiving more scholarship offers.

"The thing I found out a lot about this recruiting process is a lot of schools do their recruiting different than other schools," he said. "Syracuse, they don't just give out offers unless they are strictly positive…

"Schools like Syracuse, I know they are… really interested. I'm on top of their list. They just haven't extended an offer yet. B.C., they just got a good look at me on Wednesday, when I was at camp. I worked with the defensive coordinator. He kept me after practice because I only went up for one day… He was running me through some drills… He said ‘great job', so I definitely think that rose my stock with them…."

At Nebraska, former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove, who is entering his second year holding that position with the Huskers, is recruiting Vaughn.

Said Vaughn: "Nebraska, I definitely think I'm high on their side also…

"I have a good feeling about Nebraska, Syracuse and B.C."

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