James Vaughters picks Stanford over UGA, Tech, others (UPDATED)

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters shows his colors after commiting to Stanford on Thursday. (Photo by Chip Towers)

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters shows his colors after commiting to Stanford on Thursday. (Photo by Chip Towers)

Tucker linebacker James Vaughters, the No. 1 linebacker in the state and most sought-after recruit in Atlanta, committed to Stanford on Thursday.

He chose the Cardinal over four other finalists: Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama and Ohio State. In total. he had compiled scholarship offers from more than 35 schools nationwide.

Vaughters, a 4.0 student at Tucker, said he chose Stanford because of its combination of great academics and great football under coach Jim Harbaugh.

“I honestly believe we can do something at Stanford that has never been done and that is win a championship,” said Vaughters, who is considering majoring in architectural engineering.

In his prepared statement, Vaughters said of Stanford:

“Stanford University is a long distance from home but they have a beautiful campus, perfect climate, and I feel that they have great opportunities that I can utilize. They are a top academic school that is compared to the Ivy League, but compete in Division I football and a top conference in the Pac-10. They are also making great strides to become a championship caliber football team. Coach Vic Fangio, the new defensive coordinator, runs the 3-4 defense and I feel like he has the experience in the NFL that I will be able to feed off, to hopefully prepare myself for the NFL. They have done well in recruiting recently and improve more and more every year. I believe that they have potential to be great in many aspects.”

After the ceremony Vaughters said Georgia Tech and Ohio State probably tied for second for his services, followed by Georgia and Alabama.

Vaughters made the announcement before family, friends and teammates at a gathering a Rock Hard Fitness in Tucker, where he has trained since he was in the eighth grade. His mother and father, Vanessa and Jonathan Vaughters, stood on either side of him as he read a prepared statement and then followed his announcement of Stanford by donning a Cardinal cap.

Vaughters (6-2, 235) said he actually has had his mind made up a while. He said he called Coach Harbaugh to inform him about 9 o’clock Wednesday night.

“He was really excited,” Vaughters said. “He put me on hold and called all the other coaches into his office and they started yelling and screaming and going nuts. They were pretty happy about it.”

Asked about playing college football so far from home, Vaughters said: “No matter where I go to college I’m going to be away from home and get homesick I’m sure,” he said. “This is just a little farther away. I really didn’t see it as an obstacle.”

His parents disagreed on a that point.

“That’s a tough one,” Jonathan Vaughters said. “From a distance factor we liked Georgia, Georgia Tech and even Alabama a little more.”

Said Mrs. Vaughters: “I’ve already applied at Delta, United Airlines, Amtrak, Greyhound, for some kind of deal. Please let me know if anybody has any connections.”

Tucker head coach Franklin Stephens put Vaughters’ choice into perspective.

“If James is lucky he will be through with football by the time he’s 35,” Stephens said. “So he’ll have a long career after football. What better place to prepare for that than Stanford University?”

Here’s Vaughters’ thoughts on his other four finalists:

  • Georgia: One of the 1st things I love about Georgia was the coaching staff, Coach Richt, Coach Garner, and the new additions to the staff with Coach Grantham, Coach Belin, and the rest of the staff. Coach Richt has really impressed me with his genuineness and his focus on building a program with great players, who also have character. The Dream Team concept is very attractive to me, being from Georgia, as well as the opportunity to keep playing with my teammate, Chris Sanders.
  • Georgia Tech: “Georgia Tech is a special place to me because of its great location. It is rare that you find a great school that is located in a big city like Atlanta, with a great football program and tradition. Georgia Tech’s location and proximity to home make it very attractive and I think Paul Johnson is doing a great job, bringing in coaches that can help me get the most out of my ability and prepare me, possibly for the NFL. The switch to the 3-4 defense and the addition of Coach Al Groh and Joe Speed really interests me.”
  • Alabama: “The University of Alabama is the defending National Champions. Coach Saban is focused on building a program with players that win championships and graduate. Alabama will get even better than last year, as Coach Saban continues to build the program in, arguably, the top football Conference in the Country. Coach Kirby Smart gave me a great vision of where I would fit in to their defense, and the facilities are great and plus, I like that it is a reachable drive for my friends and family to come and see me play.
  • Ohio State: “A school that I have been a fan of since I was young and always could see myself going to is Ohio State. They seem to be one of the top teams in the NCAA that has the most stable coach in Coach Jim Tressel, and I really admire what Coach Tressel stands for. They have always produced NFL-quality linebackers, and I have a lot of family in Ohio, so I will always feel at home even though it is a long drive from Atlanta. They also are consistently mentioned in BCS Championships and rule the Big Ten.”

453 comments Add your comment

GTax

June 17th, 2010
10:58 am

Yep, it’s Stanford.

GTaxidermy

June 17th, 2010
11:03 am

Your stuffed. You’ve made the announcement before he has. Impressive.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2010
11:04 am

Here we go again with the Dream Team concept. What a joke. No wonder Urban and Nick run circles around this buffoon. I’ll repeat it again. Winning takes care of itself. Nothing else matters. Let’s get ourselves back to some SEC titles and BCS games, and then the recruits will follow.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:05 am

Meh, I am just reading between the lines.

For months the road signs have led to Stanford…those comments pretty much affirm that.

Richham

June 17th, 2010
11:09 am

It has been rumored to be Stanford for some time. I still have a small shred of hope he could choose UGA.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:10 am

I think GT, UGA, OSU, and UA all have a small hope.

Ray

June 17th, 2010
11:10 am

I just hope he stays in-state I don’t like GT, but I’d rather them then Stanford or even Bama for that matter.

BlackSmoke

June 17th, 2010
11:11 am

I think it’s OSU….but I’d love for it to be UGA

BigTimeTECHFan

June 17th, 2010
11:11 am

Holding out hope for Ga Tech!

DaltonDAWG706

June 17th, 2010
11:11 am

c’mon james be a bulldog man…I m praying for this right now. We need you.

hopeful405

June 17th, 2010
11:11 am

Just a Stanford fan checking in….we are excited about this commitment!

Steadman_Sanford

June 17th, 2010
11:12 am

Money is on Stanford, but if the dawgs have a good defensive showing this year I’d say he could be won back over. Either way just glad he’s not going to Florida

BigTimeTECHFan

June 17th, 2010
11:12 am

Stanford Fan – wow, don’t run into them much. Nice school

nola dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:13 am

where y’at Chip? he make the announcement yet?

Ray

June 17th, 2010
11:13 am

Pulling out hope he’s a Bulldog come on man support your state lol.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:14 am

Steadman…

If you have been following this kid, you’ll know that no matter how the Dawgs, Jackets, Tide, or Buckeye’s perform this year, this kid is no switcher. This will be a solid.

Bill Currry

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

Georgia State it is!!! Come on down James!!!

Richham

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

Stanford it is

Jonathan

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

It is Stanford per Twitter

Dan

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

OSU fan holding out hope, but he looks like Stanford’s to lose.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

exactly steadman- even if he commits now, whose to say he won’t flip after watching the 2010 season for all schools he’s interested in?

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:15 am

Ahhh…..the refresh button! Come on! I want to know!

I need to get back to study the CPA exam but I can’t until this get’s out!

BigTimeTECHFan

June 17th, 2010
11:16 am

Chip just text me – Network is down there.

prymetyme

June 17th, 2010
11:16 am

Dallas from Cincinnati here….origionally grew up in the south so anytime we can get an athlete from the south to come up north to the buckeyes is always good.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:16 am

Stanford. Well, good for you James! Great school!

BigTimeTECHFan

June 17th, 2010
11:17 am

just kidding

prymetyme

June 17th, 2010
11:17 am

our 2011 class is one of the best so far and can only get bett with this kid

hopeful405

June 17th, 2010
11:18 am

Welcome to Stanford James and the entire Vaughters family! You will not regret “the 40 year decision.”

Ray

June 17th, 2010
11:18 am

Well there goes one, but it doesn’t matter UGA is shaping up to have one of the best classes this year good luck James.

dap01

June 17th, 2010
11:19 am

What a waste.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:19 am

Good luck Stanford fans! Beat USC and Kiffin!

rex

June 17th, 2010
11:19 am

Glad to loose him to Stanford.

meller yeller

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

He probably would have never seen the field at tech anyway.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

dap…the kid’s going to a great school. 10x better than any other school on his list. Nothing wasted there. Kid’s gotta a great opportunity.

srschirm

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

Good luck at Stanford, James! You made a great choice. Wish you would’ve came to Tech!

Hunker Down

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

Congrats hopeful405 and to Mr. Vaughters. Good luck to you!

prymetyme

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

stanford had a couple good seasons but thats it…theyre like the big east teams who have a good two year run then go back to 2-10 seasons lol…atleast his other choices are competitive…stanford will be a 500 team the next 4 years at the best

Bill Currry

June 17th, 2010
11:20 am

He lied to me….. He was supposed to be a Panther….

Vinny D

June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

The kid is one neck injury away from no longer being a football player. Take the scholarship and get that great education at Stanford. Too bad, would loved to have seen him in Athens.

BrandonDawg

June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

Can’t win them all, since he seems truly focused on academics, he chose the right place. Good luck to him, Besides it doesn’t hurt as bad since Jarvis Jones committed to UGA a couple of days ago, now lets go get Dantzler!!

CowboyIndian

June 17th, 2010
11:21 am

Another Stanford fan here. Glad to have Mr. Vaughters…very glad! A tip for AJC headline writers that you will probably never have to use again: It’s ‘Cardinal’….as in the color. I know, we don’t like it much either, but there you are.

Paul in RDU

June 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Good luck to the kid – he nailed it with his description of Stanford – great weather, beautiful campus, great academics and an improving FB program

BigTimeTECHFan

June 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Wish him well. Good luck James, stay healthy, study hard, play hard, like said before beat USC.

Cy Fur Dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:22 am

what is it with these kids? Why go all the way across the country to go to school and play ball. Yeah, I know, Stanford is a good school, but you take away your entire family support structure in making that move. Not only that, but he’s now going to a place where only the people that follow football know who he is. There’s an established James Vaughters fan base back east and now he’ll become “that kid from GA”. Proof that even smart kids make dumb decisions.

BuddyColtrane

June 17th, 2010
11:22 am

Congratulations to the Stanford Cardinal. Would have loved to see him in the red and black, but for anyone that is focused on academics, Stanford is hard to beat. On the bright side, at least he’s not going to Bama or Florida, and he can beat up on Kiffin.

Sarah P goin rogue

June 17th, 2010
11:23 am

Stanford? I guess he’s one of those “left-coast elite” types who thinks book learnin’ is important. Too bad this kid wasnt more interested in playing ball in real america. Here to, I’m just gonna hold out hope that he switches to my Univeristy of Idaho fightin spuds. You betcha. Go Spuds!

indianman

June 17th, 2010
11:24 am

shame on you

mike

June 17th, 2010
11:24 am

I wish the Yellow Jackets could have signed him. Sounds like a good, mature young man. He has a great future ahead of him.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:24 am

Cy Fur…

That was NOT a dumb decision. Those are selfish reasons you listed. If anything it proves this kid cares about his future whether football works out or not.

You’re the dummy.

Reality Stinks

June 17th, 2010
11:27 am

Good luck

Guess he wants to walk on an NFL team and try to make it

Wont be seen much at that school with a poor surrounding cast of players this wont help him look good