Tech, UGA make James Vaughters’ cut to final five
Tucker’s James Vaughters has narrowed his list of college choices — which peaked at 35 — down to a final five.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound linebacker told me during a visit to his Stone Mountain home Wednesday afternoon that it’s down to (alphabetically) Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Stanford. That means Florida, North Carolina and Southern Cal, who made Vaughters’ last cut down to eight, are now eliminated from contention for the top college football prospect in Atlanta.
Vaughters called coaches from the three cut schools Wednesday night. He will now focus all his energy and attention on his five finalists and hopes to have a decision “by the end of summer, if not sooner.”
“All of them have what I’m looking for in terms of football and academics,” said Vaughters, a 4.0 student.
Vaughters was asked to summarize his attraction to each school:
- Alabama: “Alabama won the national championship last year. After my visit I was most impressed with their program and how much focus is put on football there. You can see how serious they are about football just by being there, being in the dorms and meeting the players. Physically, the weight program there is probably one of the best I’ve seen.”
- Georgia: “Georgia is always high on my list because I’m around so many Georgia fans here in Tucker. It’s SEC football, which is seen as the highest stage in the NCAA. And they seem to be looking to get all the top players in Georgia to put together a team that can win a national championship. Their Dream Team concept makes sense to me.”
- Georgia Tech: “Georgia Tech is definitely a very good academic institution. Recently, I’ve moved away from business a little and I really like architecture and that’s engineering. It’s a school that’s close to home. I don’t see it as a problem to be close to my family and some of my friends.”
- Ohio State: “Naturally I’m a little biased toward Ohio State because I was raised as a fan [both parents are natives and much family still lives there]. After winning the Rose Bowl this year, they showed they have success consistently. Out of all my final schools, I’d say I’m most comfortable with coach Jim Tressel as far as being there the whole time there. He seems to be really attached to the state of Ohio and the school.”
- Stanford: “Stanford is a football program that seems to be moving in a very positive direction. I really like their new defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio. He’s been coaching linebackers for 25 years and I feel like I connected with him very well. That’s an example of being at a top academic institution combined with a staff that knows what it takes to get to the NFL.”
I’ve been working on a feature story on Vaughters — specifically on his national recruitment, which has taken him to the West Coast four times, the Midwest twice and all over the Southeast — that is slated to run in the Friday newspaper.
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