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Tyler Vaughns

Preseason Scouting Notes: Tyler Vaughns, WR, USC

RS Senior | 6’2” 190 lbs | Pasadena, CA | June 6th, 1997

 

An outside receiver who wins in the short to intermediate areas with good change of direction skills and impressive contested catch ability

 

Overview:

Tyler Vaughns came to USC as a 4-star recruit and has been a starter since Week 5 of his redshirt freshman season. Last year, he served as the third option behind Michael Pittman and Amon-Ra St. Brown, ranking third in receptions and receiving yards while finishing tied for second in receiving touchdowns for the Trojans. Vaughns almost exclusively played as the outside right wide receiver in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s air raid system. The Southern California native wins with good change of direction skills in the short to intermediate areas of the field and is impressive in contested catch situations.

Strengths:

– COD on short to intermediate 90-degree or more routes
– Reads coverage to find and sit in the holes against zone coverage
– Attacks DB leverage to help create separation
– Knowledge of scramble drill rules
– Ability to adjust to inaccurate and back shoulder throws allowing him to use his body to shield off defensive backs in contested catch situations
– High points the ball and has good physical toughness to make catches through contact on contested catches
– Body control to get feet down in bounds near the sideline and back of the end zone
– Vision after the catch to read blocks and find rushing lanes

Areas to improve:

– Foot quickness and play strength to defeat press coverage
– Acceleration against off and soft press coverage to threaten cornerbacks vertically on short routes
– Play strength to get corners’ hands off of him in the five-yard window
– Explosion out of his cuts to create separation on all routes, especially corners and posts where he can’t win with COD alone
– Long speed to win on vertical routes
– Balance to stay on his feet when executing double moves
– A tendency to turn and run before securing the catch, leading to concentration drops on third-down situations
– Gets yards after the catch with marginal frequency due to a lack of agility, quickness, and play strength to run over or make defensive backs miss in open space

Injury concerns:

– 2019: Sprained Ankle (limited to seven snaps in Week 12)

Projection:

Vaughns projects as a developmental wide receiver who will likely serve as a team’s fourth or fifth option in year one. His ability to win the short to intermediate areas of the field and in contested catch situations will attract teams. But he needs to improve athletically to win at the line of scrimmage, add more routes to his repertoire, and improve after the catch. Vaughns will likely be a Day 3 pick as a fifth- or sixth-rounder, but has the potential to sneak into the back of the third- or fourth-round if he can grow his route tree.

What to watch in 2020:

Does the departure of Michael Pittman help or hurt Vaughns’ role? Amon-Ra St. Brown projects to be USC’s No. 1 option next season, but primarily plays in the slot, meaning Vaughns will likely face the defense’s top cornerback on the outside week in and week out. This could go one of two ways: he proves he can win against top competition or his production slips along with his draft stock. Also, will true sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis continue to grow and develop? Slovis won the starting job early in the year last season and played well, however, his ability – or inability – to avoid a sophomore slump will have a direct impact on the fifth-year senior’s performance.

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