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

BuddyColtrane

June 17th, 2010
11:27 am

@ Cy Fur Dawg

You make a good point. But it seems that his friends and family will support him no matter where he is. I have two young boys. And I would LOVE for them to play football for UGA if they are blessed with the opportunity. But most importantly, I want my boys to get the best education available to them. And if that means going to Stanford, then I will support them 100%. Don’t know about moving to Cali myself, however. No disrespect intended.

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:27 am

Dawgs get Jarvis Jones. So Vaughters going to obscurity does not hurt so bad.

PDX Dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:28 am

Can’t falt the guy for picking Stanford. Anyone with a brain would pick Stanford if they had the opportunity.

JT

June 17th, 2010
11:29 am

I look at it this way. The Dawgs traded Vaughters to the West Coast for a (hopefully) equally talented linebacker in Jarvis Jones. Neither one will play in 2010 and when they hit the field in 2011 Jones will have already had 2+ years in a D1 program (including game experience) and will be far more ready to contribute. There are only so many linebacker slots on the field after all. Best of luck to Vaughters. Despite not choosing Georgia it sounds like a well-thought out family decision. He’ll do well with or without football.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:30 am

Reality stinks,

I guess he wouldn’t walk onto a NFL after attending UGA? How many defensive players did UGA put in the draft last year and it what rounds?

I remember Stanford putting Toby in the first round last year, something UGA did do.

Stop pretending this kid made a bad choice.

YardDawg

June 17th, 2010
11:31 am

Herschel Talker you are a buffoon. He chose a great, in fact one of the best, academic institutions in the country. It wasn’t about SEC championships. It was about a young man who obviously has more vision regarding his future than say, you.

Good luck to you James. Real Bulldog fans, the intelligent ones are proud of you.

Paul in RDU

June 17th, 2010
11:32 am

Reality Stinks – You are correct. Who the heck ever came out of Stanford who was any good? I mean whatever happened to that Elway kid who went there?

KeithB

June 17th, 2010
11:32 am

Nice decision. Stanford got them a good one. Please refrain from all of the “we didn’t want him anyway…” remarks. Kids make their decisions based on a lot of things. Just accept it and move on. Congrats James.

GTZ09

June 17th, 2010
11:32 am

Congrats James. Wish it was Tech, but Stanford is a top notch school and Harbaugh is a very good coach. If you have the talent to play in the NFL, you will get there regardless of which school you attend. Best of Luck.

Go Jackets

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:33 am

Gtax outside of Toby what other defensive player has ever come out of stanford beyond just one year.

no dog

June 17th, 2010
11:33 am

Stanford has “great weather’?? It’s OK if you like to wake up to fog every morning, and wear a coat or sweater 10 months out of the year. I agree with Jack London who said, “the coldest winter I ever spent was June and July in the Bay area”. Kid made a good choice for academics. Now, he will play his football in anonimity for 4 years and people in his home town will say “wonder what ever happened to that Vaughters kid?”

GTaxidermy

June 17th, 2010
11:33 am

He didn’t choose tech because he wanted to go to a good academic institution.

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:34 am

Gtax how many has come out in any round other than that 1 guy.

PDX Dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:34 am

Some people on here have a serious case of sour grapes. If you cant see that Stanford is an excellent decision for this young man’s future then clearly you never went to college…..either that or your just plain selfish.

YardDawg

June 17th, 2010
11:36 am

Cy Fur Dawg, some people don’t need their ‘mommy’ when it gets dark outside.

Congrats to a very smart and independent young man.

Stanford always get a few

June 17th, 2010
11:37 am

Nice pick up for Stanford. Congrats. The Dogs move one ………….. next !!

We will land urt share. Good luck to the young man.

Many years ago an Athens kid signed with Stanford ………..Robby Kanshanmeir or something like that. He was a top QB AND baseball player from Athens. His parents both taught at UGA, I do believe.

It happens ………….. so UGA can move on.

Go Dogs.

Reality Stinks

June 17th, 2010
11:38 am

Paul in RDU

Elway yea but who else Im sure a few but the odds are against him. Use your brain

GTax

UGA ranks 4th among NCAA Schools since 1999 in putting players in the NFL

Old Dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:38 am

If a student-athlete can be admitted to Stanford and perform well in the classroom, he has a lot of opportunities in life. It’s not like Stanford hasn’t produced great players in the past, John Elway went there along with Jim Plunkett and many others.

As much as I support UGA, I’m more concerned about a person’s academics and career.

TaylorDawg

June 17th, 2010
11:39 am

Because Toby is a defensive player right? Georgia has a far higher percentage of players getting drafted than Stanford so stop playing politician and face reality. He made a good choice education wise (although Georgia does offer a good education) but made a terrible football choice.

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:41 am

Trackdawg…

I am not even going to waste my time researching that because it’s no longer important. Vaughter’s is Stanford bound and regardless of who has come out of Stanford and gone to the NFL, Vaughter’s obviously thinks he has a good chance at it.

I tend to agree. Jim Harbaugh is doing a great job and Vic Fangio has a TON of NFL experience and a TON of NFL contancts. That’s almost as important as the school itself.

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:43 am

I say he should just quit football and pursue an academic scholarship. And maybe he can go to harvard. And play football for fun.

richtfan

June 17th, 2010
11:44 am

good luck at Stanford.

you’ll lose more there in one season than in the 4 you’ve spent at Tucker.

weatherdawg

June 17th, 2010
11:44 am

Congratulations to the Vaughters and to James. I am a huge UGA fan, but I am happy for any kid who makes a good, sound decision. He seems like a young man who has been brought up well and I wish him and Stanford well. As we all know,(though some seem not to) you can only sign so many players and no one school will get them all. There are plenty of great players available–just have to hope you can reel in your share. GO DAWGS!

prymetyme

June 17th, 2010
11:44 am

ok if it was clearly just about academics then these kids wouldnt have these big announcment dates with all the cameras and media surrounding them…obviously they want some kind of attention for it…if it was about academics then why not do it the day they take the SAT or announce it at the library and when they make their choice they do it with the schools student catalog and not a baseball cap….please,all these schools offer a great future no matter where they go…bottom line stanford comes from a conference where scandal is a must lol…theres always more to a story than football or academics, just ask reggie bush…or maybe this vaughters kid doesnt think hes as good as advertised and has fooled everyone and the only place he can look like a star is at stanford

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:44 am

Taylor…

Are you sure it was terrible? Vic Fangio or Todd Grantham…let me think…an acutual SUCCESSFUL NFL DC in Vic Fangio or a “fired after only 2 years” DC like Todd Grantham? Which one…

I think I’ll go with Fangio. A proven good DC with a TON of NFL contacts, over an unproven DC never coached such a position in college with contacts to the NFL as a DLINE coach.

Sounds like Vaughter’s made a good choice to me. Truth hurts pal.

Hunker Down

June 17th, 2010
11:44 am

Well said old Dawg

gadawgs

June 17th, 2010
11:46 am

I wish the kid the best. Good luck James. No sour grapes here at all but if I had to choose between Jones and Vaughters I will take Jones any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Jones is a beast who already has D1 (who played as a true freshman) experience and with him redshirting this year he will hit the field in 2011 and be ready to GATA.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2010
11:46 am

YardDawg:

It is you who is the buffoon. I posted it before he made his choice. I posted it more as a commentary on Mark Richt’s nonsense, not on anything Vaughters had to say, you dolt. As long as idiots in our fan base like you continue to buy hook, line, and sinker into blackouts and dream teams, we will continue to be UF’s biatches. You are a clown.

Contractor

June 17th, 2010
11:47 am

Stanford is a great school, so nice choice. But the whole being close so the family can come watch is out the window, unless they can afford $1000 plane tickets every other weekend. Pac-10 isn’t a top conference in my eyes either. Anyways, hopefully you’ll stay and receive your degree and get a better education. Best of luck sir.

92 UGA Grad

June 17th, 2010
11:47 am

I’m a huge UGA fan, but fellow Dawg fans..cut the kid a break with some of these comments. This kid is as good a student as he is a football player. College is as much about getting out on your own and having new experiences and seeing new places as it is about football and acdemics. This is a great fit for James Vaughters. Sure he would have helped us, but we also just picked up Jarvis Jones, who is the exact same type of player. Our recruiting class will be fine without James Vaughters and him going to Stanford doesn’t hurt UGA at all. I have no ill feelings toward this kid at all…good luck James. Show them on the West Coast how we play ball in the South!

Hunker Down

June 17th, 2010
11:48 am

Time to move on and see if we can get Crowell, Swann, Wright, etc.

GT Fan

June 17th, 2010
11:49 am

Good Luck Kid, Hope you make your Dream the NFL?

T.O

June 17th, 2010
11:49 am

Seems like a good kid. Sad to see this class act leave the state but wish him all the luck. Atleast he can’t hurt us playing in the Pac 10.

TONE

June 17th, 2010
11:50 am

didn’t really want him anyway , we have bigger fish to fry
i mean both of those statements to be sarcastic humor like we usually here when our schools get jilted.

I say congrats to the young man for choosing a fine academic school !
good luck to him , but I did want him to go to one of the state schools .

PrymeThyme is shameful

June 17th, 2010
11:50 am

prymethyme – so becasue a person values academics in their decision on where to play football it means they shouldnt make a big announcement? Huh? That makes zero sense.

Just becasue the kid is an excellent football player that doesnt mean it has to be the most important thing in his life. Stop living vicariously through these guys. Sorry that you arent smart enough to go to Stanford or a good enough athlete to play D1 ball. You’re a pathetic, selfish, loser who cares more about bragging rights for your favorite football team than what is best for this young man’s life. Besdies, it’s HIS life and HIS decision not YOURS.

ryan

June 17th, 2010
11:51 am

He had a buddy who was going out there and he would have not fit in UGA’s 3-4 Defence . UGA needs DE and a CB will land Drew or X. Dixon. And UGA will land Dantzler and Swann.

Will

June 17th, 2010
11:51 am

Sometimes kids want to leave the shadows of home. I don’t blame him for wanting to spread his wings and see what other areas of the country have to offer. I left an opportunity for a job in GA but instead took a job in Aspen at a butcher shop for a year just to see what it was like. Good luck in the future. If Standford doesn’t work out you can always come home like Jarvis Jones did.

92 UGA Grad

June 17th, 2010
11:51 am

Herschel Talker…don’t come back on this board at the end of this season when we just played in a New Year’s Day bowl, won 10+ games again and are in the midst of pulling in a top 5 recruiting class. Your attitude and the attitude of others like you in Dawg Nation do nothing to help the team you claim to follow. Just go back under the porch and get out of the sun…it’s going to your head a litte.

BG

June 17th, 2010
11:51 am

This kid was going out of state from day 1. Too bad he is not going to a better football program.

BuddyColtrane

June 17th, 2010
11:52 am

@JT

Good point. While it’s disappointing to lose Vaughters, we got Jones, so this is a good trade off, depending on Jarvis’s health. My only issue is that I see Jones as an outside backer, while I believe that Vaughters can play inside. Another positive…. Kiffin has neither!!

Reality Stinks

June 17th, 2010
11:52 am

prymetyme 11:44am

said it better than I could

GTax

June 17th, 2010
11:52 am

92UGA Grad…well said.

Let’s quit harping on this kids decision and be glad that a great Georgia kid is going to make a name for himself somewhere.

By the way college football fans! Less than 90 days until football time!

DawginLex

June 17th, 2010
11:53 am

The kid is getting his college education paid for at a great school.

It is a great decision.

Whichever school ended up with him would have gotten a great kid.

Good for Stanford and good for James and his family.

Dawg Tired

June 17th, 2010
11:54 am

Any young man that picks Stanford has made a good choice. It is one of the best universities in the country. On the other hand when you see some of the choices others of these young men have made, it makes you wonder who’s advising them. This young man obviously has someone in his life with some sense. I hope things continue to go well for him.

DP

June 17th, 2010
11:54 am

From what I’ve read Vaughters is as impressive a recruit both on the field, in the classroom and in terms of character as you could hope for. Congrats to Stanford and to Vaughters. I’ll be watching his career and expecting great things.

asdhfhaeruaehjajta

June 17th, 2010
11:54 am

WHAT AN IDIOT

Urban Meyer

June 17th, 2010
11:54 am

“but compete in Division I football and a top conference in the Pac-10.”

I spit up my coffee after reading this.

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
11:54 am

Gtax you can have the best coordinator in the world but if there is no talent what does that get you. Know one cares about stanford football. He will have to be the greatest player in 10 years at stanford to be noticed. like toby best in who know how long. So he should just go to harvard and play football recreationally. Good thing justin scott-wesley figured that out.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

June 17th, 2010
11:57 am

You can’t get them all, With Jarvis coming to UGA now it doesn’t hurt as much, one good thing with jarvis Jones he has playing expirence and has three years that he can play. Good luck to Vaughters at stanford.

track dawg

June 17th, 2010
12:00 pm

He was going to commit to Uga but then jarvis jones beat him to it. So he decided to go to the bottom of the pac 10