Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn‘s stats may jump off the page nearly as much as his lack of prototypical size, but his last two years with the Wildcats show there’s a place for him in the NFL.
Vaughn garnered first-team Associated Press All-American and All-Big 12 second-team honors in 2021 and ’22 after being named Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year. He capped off his FBS career by leading the nation in all-purpose yards (1,936).
With at least nine offensive touchdowns in each of his three collegiate years, Vaughn has displayed elite versatility and a knack for making big plays. However, his glaring dearth of NFL-caliber size will immediately turn off many general managers and limit him to a Day 3 selection.
Weight: 179 pounds
40 time: 4.43 seconds
Table: Deuce Vaughn stats (2020-22)
*includes postseason/bowl games (stats from Sports Reference)
- Lethal lateral agility — has a number of reliable moves at his disposal to create separation in tight quarters
- Considerable production and held up to a hefty workload
- Butters his bread with short-area quickness
- Excellent body control and spacial awareness
- Utilizes lack of size to hide behind blockers and has a great feel for picking his way through traffic
- Dangerous in the screen game but also can play from the slot
- Pretty good contact balance for his size — several examples on tape of defenders failing to wrap up only to see him pinball away from the tackle attempt
- Only seven career special teams returns but profiles as a viable option
- Among the smallest prospects in recent memory — his size will immediately narrow down the field of potential landing spots
- Lacks elite top-end speed and is quicker than fast, so defenders will run him down from behind
- A liability in pass protection
- Sometimes gets “too cute” looking to stack moves and create extra yardage
- Will be isolated to niche roles and system fits as a pro
Fantasy football outlook
Vaughn isn’t the first electrifying, small-stature back to enter the NFL by any means, nor will he be the last. He’s not as stoutly built as some of the recent examples who’ve found success, like Darren Sproles or Jacquizz Rodgers, though.
Expect in the neighborhood of a Round 6 draft placement to any number of teams, but we’re looking at a career of change-of-pace, gadget-based utility. He has value on clear passing downs as a receiver, which is the likeliest way Vaughn will matter in fantasy football, so consider just about anything positive he does on the ground as a bonus.
Whether it be Year 1 or his final pro season, Vaughn may never materialize as more than a fill-in option for fake football purposes.