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

Navigator

June 17th, 2010
3:00 pm

Great, if you don’t want to go with one of our schools, fade into oblivion in the PAC10. The NFL tends to stay away from players from most of those schools because they play soft football there. Look around, both the SEC and ACC is sending a lot of players to the NFL.

boots

June 17th, 2010
3:00 pm

If you can go to Harvard, Yale, Stanford or Princeton, do. Football will last for five years or so, IF you make it to the pros. But the education from these schools will be priceless. Plus, the pros will draft from Stanford, too, so this kid is showing why he has a 4.0. Would have loved to see him in Athens, but good for him.

Dawg'88

June 17th, 2010
3:02 pm

Herschel Talker….just a big mouth with little intelligence flowing from it. Criticizing CMR is like dishonoring your mother and father. He has done alot to get this program back to consistent challengers in the SEC. He rules GA Tech, Auburn and has the best SEC record over the past 10 years. CMR a ‘buffoon’?….No sir…look in the mirror and you will find one staring at you!

Stewart

June 17th, 2010
3:04 pm

Richt takes academics very seriously.

UGA’s 973 point score out of 1000, is only 3 points less than Stanford’s 976.

3 points isn’t big enough to move 2500 miles to play for a guy that wins less than 50% of his games and rarely sees a players develop into the NFL.

Let’s see, engineers make what, $60,000, NFL Lb’s make what $5 million a year? Let’s say he just played for 5 years in the NFL, that’s $25 million, he’d have to work 40 years as an engineer to earn what he could make in one year in the NFL.

Also, the NFL pension is $100,000+ a year if you play for 10 years.

Dawglasville

June 17th, 2010
3:05 pm

Good for him. He has to go to Stanford. Schools like Vandy, Duke, UNC, Northwestern… if you can get a degree from places like that and play football, why wouldn’t you? Good luck young man.

Dawg'88

June 17th, 2010
3:11 pm

10 Star Recruit…”the culture is bad and players are running wild”? Ok how do you know this? Or is it opinion based on reading blogs and newspapers? If so…can’t back it up…don’t say it!

“Even Ga Tech is better”? Ok…An average struggling UGA team still beat that wonderful powerhouse on their own field by steamrolling their D to a tune of almost 400 yards rushing. 1 win vs CMR doesn’t make Paul Johnson a better coach….winning 8 out of 9 does!

“Richt is bringing the program to medocrity”….LOL! Good one!

One poor season by UGA standards and the program is declining?
Lets see…2007 finished season ranked #2….2008 started #1 preseason (won 10 games again…suppose thats medocrity huh?…finished ranked in the top 10 again…and played in yet another NYD bowl game)…YEP THAT’S MEDIOCRITY!

Good try but no facts to back up claims. Opinions are like bellybuttons…everyone’s got one. Find some facts or lay off CMR!

Dawg 1

June 17th, 2010
3:13 pm

Best of luck to the young man. Seems to be a quality kid going to a quality school.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2010
3:16 pm

Dawg’88 = Blind homer

UGA TO THE DEATH OF ME!..

June 17th, 2010
3:16 pm

Yes I Just Dont Understand How 1 Bad Year Has Brought On The “Mediocrity” Tag and Such,…THIS WILL BE THE YEAR WE RUN UP THE SCORE ON TEAMS…REMEMBER PAYBACK IS A MOTHER!…TAKEAWAYS…SACKS!>..

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2010
3:25 pm

Do any of you look at the facts? Look at the following games the last 3 years:

2007 at UT
2008 vs. Bama
2008 vs. UF
2008 vs. GT
2009 vs. UF
2009 at UT

You think any of those games were indicative of a well-coached team? Losing is fine; you can’t win them all. However, losing in the manner in which those losses occurred was disgraceful. It’s like when they lose, they have to lose in grand fashion, with no discipline or focus. It’s like they quit just like those stellar Atlanta Hawks. You think Nick and Urban would EVER lose games in that manner?

You think a coach that is driven to win would put up with Willie Martinez for FIVE years? How ’bout continuing to tell us that Joe Cox was our best chance to win last year? Really? That was really our best chance? Cox didn’t deserve all the hate that was sent his way, but let’s not kid ourselves. He was in no way an SEC caliber QB, except maybe when it comes to holding a clipboard.

Pull off your blinders, people. Richt is mediocre. He’s a good guy (that is, when he’s not screwing all of us by keeping his friend in a job as DC for which he’s obviously not qualified), but he’s not as great a coach as you want to make him out to be.

JRW7

June 17th, 2010
3:27 pm

I hope this young man realizes that he made a stupid football decision to go to Stanford, the very bottom of Pac 10 football. Maybe his degree at Stanford will overcome this stupid football decision.

Pi$$onaDAWG's gay lover

June 17th, 2010
3:32 pm

Oh no UGA didn’t get all the best players in the state of Georgia……..Doom and Gloom…….no is the time for all the losers to bash Richt. Georgia as a state is ranked 4th with talent and not all will stay it is just life.

Pi$$onaDAWG's gay lover

June 17th, 2010
3:33 pm

NC Jacket

June 17th, 2010
3:34 pm

As an alumnus of both Tech and Stanford, I’m a little disappointed he didn’t pick Tech, but I have to say: “James, you made a great choice. Congratulations!”

falcon

June 17th, 2010
3:34 pm

dude is gonna get home sick real bad. he’ll wish he had stayed closer to home before he’s done IMO.

mgdawg

June 17th, 2010
3:35 pm

He chose the college that will help him out the most after he gets done with football, and he seems to think he will be done with football after college. Honestly, why else would you choose stanford over any of the other colleges listed? I respect the guy for it if he feels that way, I want players going to UGA that think they are good enough that they can play at the next level.

Preston

June 17th, 2010
3:39 pm

Good luck kid! Wish you’d picked UGA but at least you’re not going to another SEC school or tech. Stanford is a fine institution where your education will be top notch for post football. Congratulations!

10 Star Recruit

June 17th, 2010
3:41 pm

Dawg 88, just because yall beat Tech last year, and barely, doesnt mean that their program isnt heading in the right direction. And im not talking about the one bad season last year, im talking about the 9 that he has had their and they have yet to be significant in the post season. UGA is suppose to be a powerhouse, especially when your coach has been their 10 years, and UGA has all of the necessary tools to be a powerhouse, nice facilities and great conference, and the best recruiting location arguably in the nation. So whats the problem…..the head coach. I notice you didnt respond to how fast Urban, Nick, and Les was able to come in and own UGA and the SEC and College football as a whole in only a couple of years, while Richt has been here for much longer than them? Why are they able to be so successful so fast? Is it because they get better athletes, have better coaches. or their just lucky?

Stanford Peach

June 17th, 2010
3:42 pm

There are four active Stanford alumni clubs in the Atlanta area. Stanford is a wonderfully diverse school. The campus is beautiful, the climate is great, the students come from all over the world and with the most amazing backgrounds. For the incoming class, only 7 out of every 100 applicants was admitted. So to be admitted to Stanford is quite an accomplishment. On top of all that, Stanford has quite a sports history with a host of Olympians, NFL coaches and star players, etc., as alumni. For the 16th year in a row, Stanford will win the Director’s Cup Award for the nation’s best overall collegiate athletics program.

ALL VOLS

June 17th, 2010
3:42 pm

Good luck to the young man. I know Lance Thompson would have liked
to coach him. And some of you need to grow up for bashing this player
and calling him names because he did not pick UGA. Stay classy.

Preston

June 17th, 2010
3:43 pm

mgdawg, these are the kind of players we need. Great in the classroom as well as the field. The smart ones are the ones that don’t get arrested. And before all you dog haters start your crap, don’t say a word unless your school has never had a player get arrested.

PMC

June 17th, 2010
3:46 pm

Good for him Awesome. Palo Alto is a beautiful place to go to school and get an education.

option smoption

June 17th, 2010
3:47 pm

Good luck to you, son. But a Championship at Stanford? Unless you’re talking tennis you’re dreaming.

ok jAY

June 17th, 2010
3:48 pm

If you guys want to compare which colleges get the most guys into the NFL, here’s the website:
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/alumni-tracker/school

CMR has gotten more guys into the NFL than Saban or Meyer. 50+ are active right now in NFL from Georgia, compared to around 20 for Stanford.

Brookcy

June 17th, 2010
3:49 pm

I congratulate this young man on his decision. James continue to make all of us proud of you. It’s a shame that every time an athlete picks the school of their choice you fans choose to verbally attack and say negative things about someone you don’t even know. We as adults should all say congrats to these young men who have put in the time in the classrooms and on the fields to be able to get themselves a college education. If you don’t think you can do that, just don’t say anything because the words you speak means nothing.

HugoStiglitz

June 17th, 2010
3:49 pm

Stewart why do you keep harping on Academic Progress Rates? Those rates are calculated base on how far along athletes are in their plan for graduation. Those numbers have nothing to do with the quality of the education they are getting while they are there.

Paul in RDU

June 17th, 2010
3:53 pm

Navigator – So the NFL shies away from Pac 10 players? USC has more active players in the NFL than any other college (even UGA). I guess it must be all those softies like Troy Polumalu, Clay Matthews Jr, and Ray Maualuga

Sure the SEC plays a more physical brand of football, but they aren’t exactly useless over there on the left coast

Delbert D.

June 17th, 2010
3:54 pm

“so he decided to go to the bottom of the Pac 10?”

Tied for 2nd last year.

Da Bulls

June 17th, 2010
3:57 pm

Congrats to James and the entire Vaughters family!! I’m sure there was alot of hard work along the way…but couldn’t happen to a better person!

Delbert D.

June 17th, 2010
4:02 pm

Coaches Poll 2009 season, Others Receiving Votes:
Navy(10-4) 89;
Oregon State(8-5) 78;
Clemson(9-5) 75;
Oklahoma(8-5) 67;
Stanford(8-5) 49;
Auburn(8-5) 17;
Georgia(8-5) 13;
Houston(10-4) 12;
Middle Tennessee(10-3) 12;
Arizona(8-5) 11;
Arkansas(8-5) 10;
Connecticut(8-5) 10;
Florida State(7-6) 9;
Rutgers(9-4) 7;
Air Force(8-5) 7;
Northwestern(8-5) 6;
East Carolina(9-5) 4;
Southern Methodist(8-5) 1

Stanford would be #29

Delbert D.

June 17th, 2010
4:03 pm

Or 30. I can’t count.

Stewart

June 17th, 2010
4:13 pm

There’s a way to combine academics and athletic achievements. Georgia ranks very high with this measure too:

http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/can-academic-progress-help-collegiate-football-teams-win

Stewart

June 17th, 2010
4:15 pm

The SAPR gives 50% weight to academics, and 50% to athletic excellence.

On the athletic side, it measures by these weights:

All-time winning % (.10)

Conference championships in last 5 years (.10)

Attendance average (2003) (.15)

Bowl games in last 5 years (.15)

National rankings in last 5 years (.15)

Players in the National Football League (.15)

Wins in the last 5 years (.20)

Georgia is ranked #5 on the SAPR. Stanford is ranked #19.

Douglas

June 17th, 2010
4:16 pm

I would have loved to have seen him at Georgia but gosh, academically speaking: who could pass up Stanford? Best wishes — it says something about his parents — they have raised him well.

Snoop Dawg

June 17th, 2010
4:17 pm

Simple how to reel this guy in to Athens–offer him more money than Stanford…

Dawggrl

June 17th, 2010
4:17 pm

Sounds like a great fit for the young man. I would have loved to see him at UGA, but I wish him the best of luck at Stanford. Beat USC and Kiffin!

Stewart

June 17th, 2010
4:18 pm

The SAPR is also great for recruits at predicting which head coaches will change.

Just 3 out of top 15 head coaches changed, whereas 10 of bottom 15 changed.

http://www.thesportjournal.org/article/can-academic-progress-help-collegiate-football-teams-win

Davey Boy Smith

June 17th, 2010
4:19 pm

Congrats and good luck! As a South Georgia boy, who grew up a UGA fan, I have always believed that had I had the talent and brains to have been offered by UGA and Stanford in football, it would have been a no-brainer-I would have been California bound.

As the events of last week showed, nobody in college football gives a rat’s ass about the kids playing. It is a greed driven entity who sees players only as commodities. Getting a degree at one of the finest institutions in America will serve you well no matter where you wind up.

UGA2008

June 17th, 2010
4:21 pm

Congratulations to James on his selection. I can’t fault a guy for preparing himself for life after football.

Stewart

June 17th, 2010
4:27 pm

Notice “perfect weather”, wasn’t a measure of a college, because it doesn’t pertain to academics or athletics.

bill_in_atl

June 17th, 2010
4:27 pm

Delbert, Stanford is dead last in the PAC 10 in winning percentage over the last decade. If you go back two decades they are about 0.2% ahead of Oregon State. Same story if you go back three decades.

I applaud the choice personally, but the statement you refuted is fairly accurate. One year means nothing, especially in this case where Stanford had a once in a lifetime (for them) running back and a coach who most people think will leave very soon.

I HOPE Harbaugh stays and makes Stanford competitive for the long term in the PAC 12. It’s good for college football to have schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Vandy and Duke winning. I just don’t know if it’s feasible long term for a myriad of reasons that we all know about. The historical facts beat this out.

suwaneedawg

June 17th, 2010
4:28 pm

The kid did what he thought was best for him, nothing wrong with that thinking. I will say he more class in his little pinky then say…hershel talker. WOW, what a moron.

bill_in_atl

June 17th, 2010
4:30 pm

“bear”.. not “beat” fwiw.

Herschel Talker

June 17th, 2010
4:37 pm

ok jAY:

Yes, Richt has put more players in the NFL than either of those guys. But that continues to prove my point. Compared to Nick and Urban, Richt has done far less with far more.

Howard Floyd

June 17th, 2010
4:56 pm

Now, we can get him off the daily sports news in Georgia.
HJF

BIG DAWG

June 17th, 2010
4:58 pm

ME HATES YOU VALLTORS YOU IS NEVER PLAY IN NFL CAWS YOU NO PICK DAWGS! THEYS NO GOOD PLEYERS AT STAFFORD! YOU NEVR GO TO NFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bruce mac

June 17th, 2010
5:07 pm

Why are all you supposed Dawg fans flapping your gums about Saban and Myer on a blog about a kid that went to Stanford? DUHH!

Not Disappointed

June 17th, 2010
5:21 pm

Good luck young man. Wish you had played within the state.

Ramlbin Wreck!

godawgs

June 17th, 2010
5:21 pm

Why do you go to Stanford, where no family members can see you play? What a waste.

Me

June 17th, 2010
5:39 pm

You have to admire him for taking the road less traveled. I know Florida wanted him bad because of his combined athletic and academic ability and they weren’t even a finalist! Wouldn’t be surprised to see this kid ending up being both an academic and football All-American.