Redshirt senior running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn returns to Vanderbilt after rushing for 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, and the dynamic rusher was in attendance at SEC Media Days discussing foregoing the NFL, new position coach Tim Horton and opening the season against Georgia.
You were adamant about wanting to return to Vanderbilt rather than head to the NFL Draft, what was the decision process like?
“I sat down with my mom, Coach Mason. I listened to what the agents said, but I felt like I still had things to prove on the college level. I felt like I could break records, and that’s something I’m chasing. Getting better, getting my name out there more. Then like working on stuff that people don’t think I’m good at. I think Coach Mason was talking about how you earn all your money on the front end, so that’s what I want.”
What are your thoughts on new running backs coach Tim Horton?
“I mean, Coach Horton’s a great coach. You see that he’s had so many great running backs. In his office, you go in his office and all he’s got is pictures of great running backs and game balls. When you see a coach have so much experience with great running backs, you don’t want to do anything but listen, so I’ve taken everything that he’s said. From the smallest details, even if it’s like correcting something that I don’t feel I need correcting on, you still got to listen. You got to be coachable. With Coach Tim Horton, I can trust him.”
What did Coach Mason mean when he said you’re getting better without the football?
“Understanding the playbook, understanding defensive schemes, how to get on the board, draw your protection, your run blocks and all that. Being able to catch the ball and block.”
Being a Nashville native, Coach Mason said he can’t go to Jefferson Street without someone talking about you, do you feel pride for playing for your community?
“I love it actually because I’m from the city, and there’s so much love throughout the city. I can’t go anywhere without someone knowing who I am, so I just can’t imagine somebody who played for me. So it’s just a great feeling, knowing I can be the one to put my city on.”
How concerned are you about facing Georgia in the season opener, specifically that defense?
“Not much concern. I mean, I got to sacrifice for my quarterback. That’s basically what my mindset is now. Like, pressures, as long as I pick up the pressures, once they see I can block, they’re going to stop sending pressures.”