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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Vaughan accomplishes mission at SPARQ

By Sam Khan Jr.

SHENANDOAH, Texas -- About a year ago, Austin (Texas) McNeil defensive end Zach Vaughan went to the Nike Football SPARQ Combine in Houston and posted a SPARQ rating of 101.58.

On Saturday at Woodforest Bank Stadium, Vaughan was motivated by one primary goal: beat his 2012 mark.

He did.

The 6-foot-4, 218-pound Class of 2014 prospect turned in quite a performance with Saturday's fifth-best overall SPARQ rating, posting a mark of 112.56.

"Last year I came here and put up a 101, so I wanted to come back and beat myself," Vaughan said. "It was a great feeling. When I got my card I said, 'I better bet a 101 because that's all that matters.'"

Among Vaughan's notable marks were a 4.79-second 40-yard dash, a 4.19-second 20-yard shuttle and a 32.6 inch vertical leap. Several colleges have noticed his athleticism, including four that have offered: Colorado, Houston, Texas Tech and Rice.

He was able to attend a Texas Tech game last fall and enjoyed the experience. Though the coaching staff has changed since the Red Raiders started recruiting him, he still likes the Red Raiders.

"It was great," Vaughan said of his game-day experience last season. "I really loved Texas Tech. They changed the whole coaching staff, so I've got to get to know all the new coaches now and everything, but it was a great experience and I loved it."

New inside receivers coach Eric Morris is now recruiting Vaughan for the Red Raiders.

"I've been talking to him a lot," Vaughan said. "He's a good guy. I like the fact that they brought in all Texas Tech-exes. That's good, because they have a passion for the program."

He also is building strong relationships with coaches at two schools that have yet to offer but are showing significant interest and could offer before long.

"I've been talking a lot with Joe Bob Clements and Coach [Glenn] Spencer up at Oklahoma State," Vaughan said. "They said they're going to be offering here in the spring, so I'm excited about that one."

Vaughan has already been to Stillwater, Okla., for a junior day at Oklahoma State. He also is planning a trip to Northwestern in the spring to see the Wildcats' campus.

"[At] Northwestern, I've been talking to Marty Long a bit," Vaughan said. "I'm going up there in late March or early April for an individual junior day. I think that's when they said they're probably going to offer."

Vaughan said that most schools are recruiting him as a defensive end. He wants to see as many campuses as possible before he narrows things down. Overall, it's a positive experience for the rising junior.

"It's so exciting," Vaughan said. "It's like a euphoric state almost. I don't really know what to do with myself. It's all kind of coming to me. To know that I'm wanted that badly by some coaches, that's a great feeling."