Quest for the NFL: Blog by Chase Vaughn
CSU-Pueblo football standout Chase Vaughn is attempting to fulfill a lifelong dream - making the NFL. Chase is getting his chance to show off for scouts at the 2010 Valero Cactus Bowl in Kingsville, Texas on January 8, 2010. Read below to see Chase's reports from Kingsville.
Posted on January 9, 2010
Day 7 - GAME DAY!
For at least one more time in my career, I get to play the great game of football. I'm truly blessed because of it. We got to sleep in a little today. (Till about 8 am) We then loaded the bus at 8:30 and headed to our game day breakfast, which was hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, and sausage was what we ate.
While eating, an NFL scout for the Carolina Panthers, Dr. John Peterson, gave a very moving, yet motivating speech. I was lucky enough to have met John late last season when he came to visit CSU-Pueblo. Great guy.
After traveling back to the hotel and resting for a few hours, we then boarded the buses again, this time for lunch. The cafeteria went all out today! We had steak, baked potatoes, spaghetti, and ravioli! Yes, my kind of lunch! After being stuffed, we were taken back to the hotel to rest up until the game. This is the bad part about late games, you tend to just sit around all day.
Four o'clock finally rolled around, and it was time to head to the field. When we got to the locker room, our jerseys were hanging up on our lockers. Vaughn, number 48. There is something about seeing your last name on a jersey that gets players instantly hyped up. Lets go!!
I tried to keep the same pregame routine I used all season long. Laid out my entire uniform on the floor before putting it on, drink a Vitamin Water (Shout out to Augie Agyei for starting me on that!), and finally my same pre game stretch routine. It was then time for the west squad to head out to the field. I gave a quick high five to my coaches who made the trip ALL the way from Pueblo! Next were the player introductions. Like usual, I held up the wolf pack sign with both of my hands as I ran out! During the national anthem, it kind of hit me that this was my first time playing under the lights on a Friday since high school. "Friday night lights", its a great feeling.
The West All-Stars would then go on to have a great game as we shut out the East All-Stars. I played well at inside linebacker (5 tackles, pass break up) and had a pretty solid game overall. ALMOST blocked a punt in the 1st quarter! SO CLOSE!! haha Above all, it was fun. Despite the cold, I had a great time, and unfortunately the game went by fast. It was an honor to play alongside and against the best D-II players in the nation. In a great after-game locker room environment, players exchanged game programs (which we received along with our jerseys) and signed them. Then for a post game meal....Barbeque!!...And yes, why not....beans. Kind of glad to have them on my last night in Texas though haha.
Back to the hotel, time to wind down. The week was a grind, but a great experience at the same time. I would like to take this time to thank everyone who helped make this great trip possible. All Cactus Bowl Representatives and volunteers, the city of Kingsville, and also my coaches at CSU-Pueblo for their support. Thank you Anthony Sandstrom, and the CSU-Pueblo athletics office for giving me the chance to share this great experience with you all. And finally, thank you to my family, friends, teammates, and fans for all the blog comments. The Cactus Bowl has created great memories I will never forget. Well, I leave for the airport at around eight o'clock tomorrow, its 1AM now, so time to get some much needed rest! Its been fun everybody. GO PACK!
Vaughn helps lead West All-Stars to Cactus Bowl shutout
2010 Cactus Bowl: West All-Stars 16, East All-Stars 0
Related Link: Read Chase's Blog about the Cactus Bowl
KINGSVILLE, Tex. - CSU-Pueblo linebacker Chase Vaughn (Sr., Aurora, Colo.) was among the defensive stars at the 2010 Cactus Bowl in Kingsville, Tex. Friday as the West All-Stars scored a 16-0 shutout of the East All-Stars.
Vaughn was one of the key contributors on a shutout effort, recording five tackles, fourth most on the team. His West All-Star team allowed just 121 total yards, including 34 on the ground. The East All-Stars would get no closer than the West 32-yard-line all night long.
As he did so many times at CSU-Pueblo, Vaughn came up big on consecutive plays more than once.
In the third quarter, he showed his pass coverage prowess by breaking up a pass one play after getting his third tackle of the game and setting up a punt.
In the fourth, he made the stop on two consecutive plays in a drive that would be the closest the East All-Stars would come to making a score.
Vaughn hopes the performance opens up the eyes of National Football League scouts, who had been scouting the game and practices all week long at the Cactus Bowl. According to a story by The Pueblo Chieftain, the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers have all enquired the CSU-Pueblo football program about Vaughn even prior to this week's Cactus Bowl. Undoubtedly, more teams have taken notice of the 6-foot-2, 242-pound outside linebacker and former all-American.
For more on Vaughn's experience at the Cactus Bowl, read his blog at http://www.gothunderwolves.com/blogs/chasevaughn/index.
Posted on January 7, 2010
How to follow Chase at the Cactus Bowl
For those wanting to follow Chase at the Cactus Bowl, visit www.cactusbowl.org to watch the live webcast, which begins Friday, Jan. 8 at 5:35 mountain (6:35 p.m. central).
The game will also be featured on Fox College Sports Channel 617 on DirecTV. The game will be broadcast on KCCT 1150 AM, a sister station of ESPN 1230 in Corpus Christi, Fox Sports Radio 1070 AM in Alice and KTAI 91.1 FM in Kingsville (to those who can pick up a signal from Texas!).
If you are the ambitious type and you plan to be there in person, visit www.cactusbowl.org to get tickets. For your convenience, here are driving directions from Pueblo to Kingsville, Texas: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?1c=Pueblo&1s=CO&1y=US&1l=38.254398&1g=-104.608597&1v=CITY&2c=Kingsville&2s=TX&2y=US&2l=27.5156&2g=-97.855797&2v=CITY
Keep your comments coming for Chase! It's because of fans like you that he and all our ThunderWolf student-athletes are able to achieve at such a high level!
Posted on January 7, 2010
I again want to thank everyone for the comments and your support, It means a lot to me.
Well the weather took a slight turn for the worst today. Cold and rainy at practice time. Because of this, coaches decided to have practice in the gym. Not too big of a deal, scouts were gone, and this was a walk through anyway. We made sure we had all of our positions on special teams set, and took care of some other alignment issues.
Cafeteria again for lunch, this time it was fried chicken. (No beans haha) No second practice today, just straight back to the hotel. We were given a couple hours off before the banquet tonight. I used the time to catch up on some sleep. I woke up at around four o'clock to get showered and dressed. Tonight I get a chance to wear my new suit. Shout out to my Grandparents for getting me it for Christmas!
Both teams loaded their buses and headed back to campus. The awards ceremony was held in a ballroom on the second floor on Texas A&M Kingsville's student union. I sat at a table with all of my fellow RMAC players (plus C.J. Lovett, from the MIAA conference). All of us looking very good if you ask me haha. Shout out to Adam Saur, WR from Mines. Met his parents and fiancee, very nice people. For dinner tonight, chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes with apple pie for dessert. (No beans again?! I guess they read my blogs haha)
After a couple of speeches from Cactus Bowl Representatives, the players from both teams had their name called and then walked up, shock hands with coaches and received a very nice watch with the Cactus Bowl logo. Pretty cool. That concluded the awards ceremony and we then headed back to the hotel. National Championship is tonight! Not really going for anyone, but I will be watching two players. Renaldo McClain, LB for Alabama, and Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE for Texas. Great players, maybe ill learn something or two. Cactus Bowl tomorrow!! I'm getting excited for it. Just gonna go out and enjoy myself, let it all soak in. So I guess tomorrow will be my last blog. Ill let you all know how it went! Wish me luck!
Posted on January 6, 2010
Let me start out with a quick shout out to everyone for the blog comments. Thank you so much for your support.
Today was noticeably warmer than the last couple of days. If felt like early fall out there, beautiful weather. As expected, some of the scouts had left had but there were still a lot of them at the first practice. This was practice was mainly used for special teams. Kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return, and field goals. Remembering my coaches and agent's advice, i made sure i got on all of them.. (except someone beat me to it on field goal! dang!) These weren't really done at full speed but I made sure to show some good effort anyway, as did some other players. We then ended the practice with another session of offense vs defense. Since we were only in helmets, it was a little hard to be physical, but i made it a point to run full speed to the ball every play. Another lunch in the cafeteria at Texas A&M Kingsville, this time Enchiladas and...yep you guessed it, Beans.
Our second practice (in just helmets again) was only 45 minutes long, and was basically a walk through. No scouts were there. Before going back to the hotel, we were taken to King's Ranch for a tour. Kings Ranch is HUGE. Around 800 acres! We saw white tail deer, lots of cows and horses, and Javelina. A Javelina (Texas A&M Kingsville's mascot) looks like a cross between a wild boar and a hedgehog. It is a mean looking thing haha.
We were then taken back to the hotels for a quick change of clothes, then it was back on the bus. Our destination? A BBQ at J.K. Northway Coliseum. A lot of people showed up for the event. Along with the food, they had an auction table with many different items. I placed a bid on an autographed Shaun Rodgers, Cleveland Browns jersey. (No, not a Browns fan but Rodgers is a BEAST!) Sadly, I was outbid about 15 minutes later. Before food was served, all of the players from both the East and West teams were introduced one at a time. I put up the Wolf Pack sign with my right hand as I was introduced! haha
For dinner we ate brisket, potato salad, sausage, and SURPRISE....more beans! haha Great food overall. As we were leaving, everyone was told that the Cactus Bowl banners hanging around the arena were free to take. Everyone made a mad dash for them. I got to one just before (OK, more like 20 seconds before) a younger girl (bout 10 or 11) got to it. She then gave me the sad puppy dog look, so I let her have it...The right thing was done, but I cant help to think how good that banner would have looked in my Wolf Village apartment. haha
Back to the room now. I'm not sure what tomorrow is going to be like. I imagine we are going to just take it kinda easy, have a few walk throughs and get ready for the game Friday, but you never know!
Posted on January 5, 2010
Ok, its go time. How do I know? Because it was one of those days where you wake up before your alarm, and your not even sleepy. Just instantly hyped up to play FOOTBALL!
The day started out like yesterday, breakfast at seven and then a bus ride to field. Everyone is hurting, we all played really hard yesterday. The practice was pretty much in the same format as yesterdays, the only difference was it was colder out. But 40 degrees feels like summer to this Colorado boy. Haha. I was feeling good because I thought I had the basics of playing this inside backer position down, and now I could do what I did best. PLAY FAST!
I ended up having a good practice, by far my best one yet. For lunch, we loaded the buses and went over to the Texas A&M Kingsville cafeteria. Spaghetti, chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes! haha
After lunch we learned that our next practice was shortened and only going to be in helmets. This created a lot of joy in the locker room! As it turns out, the intensity was exactly the same. Everyone still went hard, and I turned in another solid practice in my opinion. For dinner tonight, players were divided up and sent off with host families to have dinner at their homes. I ended up at a very big, gorgeous ranch/farm. Me and 9 others were greeted by some very nice and friendly people. We ate some REALLY GOOD fried catfish with homemade tartar sauce, THE best cornbread I've ever had (and I'm not just saying that haha), salad, and beans (I'm starting to think beans are eaten with everything here in Texas haha). We all then relaxed around a campfire and exchanged jokes. Shout out to Jonnie King of Southwest Baptist, he had everyone laughing! Honorable mention goes to Isaac Stockton of Chadron who got a couple good laughs too. haha
Back at the hotel now, pretty early for a change. I get a chance to relax and watch some football, Orange Bowl! Tomorrow should be pretty intense. The "inside" word is that some of the scouts leave after the third day of practice so I except everyone to turn it up a notch. I know I will.
Posted on January 4, 2010
Morning came too fast! As hard as it was, time to get up and go to breakfast. After breakfast we loaded the buses and headed to the field. Practice time! Felt weird putting on the pads again, especially when I thought the Adams State game would be the last time I would wear the Pack logo. Felt good though!
All of the NFL scouts lined the sidelines, clipboards and papers in hand. They watch your every move closely, writing down notes on everything it seems. I try not to think about it and pretend I'm back in Pueblo, practicing in the Thunder Bowl.
Practice was fast paced. You had to learn fast, coaches did not like to repeat themselves! I was going pretty hard, at the same time trying to learn how to play inside linebacker (which I am playing because of the defense we are running). Inside backer is a little different but football is football, and I was just glad to be out there. The talent level is amazing and the size of some of these players is incredible.
Practice went by fast, as it usually does when you go hard. We then had pizza in the locker room, followed by meetings, and then had to get ready for practice number two!! Yes, two a days! I thought I saw the last of them during fall camp, but they are back! haha.
The second practice is pretty much like the first, scouts watching, players going hard, etc etc. I think I played a little better in this practice because I was starting to get the hang of Inside linebacker. For dinner, we were treated to some good old Texas BBQ! Chicken, steak, potato salad and beans. Very good, and i left VERY FULL. To give us a break, we were given the rest of the night off. Good time to finish up some of these recruiting questionnaires the scouts give you. Another two a day tomorrow, and I cant help but be excited! Going to get some rest now!
Posted on January 3, 2010
Big day today! After a seven o clock breakfast, we loaded the bus and headed to the Texas A&M Kingsville campus. We entered a classroom that was filled with NFL scouts from every team, wearing hats and shirts with their teams logo on it. It kind of hit me then, that this is FOR REAL!
We sat down and filled out some player information forms. Next it was time for these NFL tests! These are unlike any other test you have taken. Filled with questions designed to test your thinking, and discover what kind of personality you have. THREE hours later we were finally done and headed to the stadium for a quick lunch, and the physical part of the tests...
In the locker room, players exchanged helmet decals. My "Thunder wolf" decals went fast! I should have brought more! It was pretty cool to look around the locker room and see great players from across the nation with the CSU Pueblo logo on their helmet. My helmet looks pretty cool too!
Up first were the measurements. After entering a hallway, we were asked to strip down to nothing but our compression shorts or boxers and enter the next room. That room was filled with about 50 NFL scouts and Representatives. Standing, half naked in front of 50 people? The things I do for football. Haha. The scouts measured our arm length, hand size, height and weight. After that interesting experience, we headed out to the track and ran our 40 yard sprints. I was a little nervous because not only did you have all the scouts watching, but every player and coach there was also watching you, and on top of that, the local news crews had the cameras pointing right at you.
To end the day, we had dinner and then meetings, where we would learn what type of defense we would run. Sooooo exhausted and my brain kind of hurts haha off to bed!
Posted on January 2, 2010
My day started at four AM, waking up and driving to the airport. While waiting at my gate, I met up with three other players going to the Cactus Bowl, who were on the same flight as me. Brandon Harrington and Isaac Stockton from conference foe, Chadron, and C.J. Lovett from Fort Hays. It was pretty cool knowing that I was going to be on the same team as two of the RMAC's best.
After about a two and a half hour plane ride, we arrived in Houston, Texas and here came the dreaded three hour lay over...To pass the time, we sat down at an airport restaurant. While eating, a tall man walked in and stood in the doorway. This man was Former NBA Hall Superstar Clyde "The Glide" Drexler. Shortly after he came in, a random guy at the bar started yelling his name. Clyde waved, and then left, realizing his cover was blown. That was pretty cool, but back to my trip. After a short plane ride to Corpus Christi, we were greeted by Cactus Bowl officials who gave us a badge with our names on it and a hat. We were then guided to our bus. After a pretty legit buffet dinner, all the players and coaches met quickly to discuss the schedule and then it was off to bed. NFL testing tomorrow!