FRISCO, Texas – When Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn went to the combine in Indianapolis back in March, he was officially listed at 5-foot 5 inches and weighed in at a whopping 179 pounds. He's the smallest player ever in Combine history, but hasn't let that deter him from chasing that dream.
"A dream come true. It's been one of the things I've been wanting to do since I was a little kid," he said from Indy. "To be here at the Combine with some of the best running backs in college football and to be able to talk to NFL teams… talk to media and not only get my story, but all of our stories out there has been huge."
Vaughn definitely has a story, one that is familiar to the Cowboys for many reasons. But first and foremost, he feels like he brings an all-around game on the field.
"Versatility-wise, I'm able to catch the ball out of the backfield, run inside to outside, be able to split out into the slot and also have some punt return/kickoff return experience," Vaughn said of his skillset as a running back. "My preparation is what I pride myself on. I feel like I'm one of the best film watchers, one of the best note-takers and also one of the best workers in the weight room and on the football field, which has gotten me to this point."
Having lived in Texas, Vaughn said he saw every Dallas Cowboys game last season, and watched the dynamic duo that was Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott – two players he wouldn't mind the opportunity to learning from in his NFL career.
"First off, with Zeke, the way he runs – the power, the punishing finish, the way he's able to break big gains – and Tony Pollard this past year," said Vaughn. "The electricity that he brought every single weekend – the big time runs, the cuts, being able to catch the ball down the field, man, they're a great one-two punch and they did an amazing job."
But, the one-two punch isn't his only connection to America's team. His father, Chris Vaughn, has been working as an area scout for the Dallas Cowboys since 2017, which means keeping up with the Jones' is kind of his specialty.
"It's been really surreal to go through this process with my son being involved this year," said Chris. "There's a little bit of 'Dad' that seeps in where I don't have that type of relationship with the other guys that have been here or other guys that I've evaluated, so it's a little different."
"It kind of set some of the nerves to the side being able to talk to him," said Deuce. "If I had a question, if I had anything that I needed throughout my entire time in college and now through this process he's been there for me, and I can't thank him enough."
Vaughn did meet with the Cowboys informally while in Indianapolis, and said the meeting went "really, really well." While his future is uncertain, both dad and Deuce say they wouldn't mind making Dallas his new home.
"There's definitely a lot more anxiety on my part than year's past because you come to the Combine and you see all these players. You've watched them on tape, you've heard what the people at the school has to say about them, but I kind of know this guy [Deuce] personally," said Chris.
"It'd be huge to have a star on the side of my helmet. Growing up in Texas, [the Cowboys] being right up the road. I've played in AT&T stadium a couple times now – beautiful venue, I wouldn't mind that at all," added Deuce.
Deuce finished the 2022 season with 1558 total rushing yards on 293 carries. He scored nine touchdowns on the ground and caught three passes for scored. He added 378 receiving yards on 42 receptions in his final season with Kansas State.