First off. Your 25-years-young today, Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Some of us have socks that are older. So please excuse if we pass on the “another year in the books”, “do you feel your age”, “here’s to many more” sentiments. This is not to say we don’t wish you the happiest of birthdays. Or that we are not still smitten with your role in the Buccaneers backfield since being drafted from Vanderbilt in 2020.
But speaking of many more….
Time To “Sneak” Is Now
As a child, Ke’Shawn got the nickname sneak for his ability to quietly sneak in and out of the kitchen, in pursuit of his favorite Little Debbie snacks. By the time he was a senior in Nashville, Tennessee, rushing for 2,646 yards and 45 touchdowns, he was sneaking no more. He was also a standout in high school at track and field, anchoring the state champion 4 x 100m relay team and was named the Tennessee Gatorade Football Player of the Year. Ke’Shawn Vaughn was quite loud, in fact.
After two years at Illinois in 2015 and 2016, Vaughn would return home to where it all started. Enrolling at Vanderbilt. The college he literally grew up in the shadows of. “Where I’m from, nobody really has dreams of going to Vanderbilt”, Vaughn would say in 2019. The journey back to an Ivy League school wasn’t without its ups and downs. But Vaughn would show all those other neighborhood football players, students, others in the Nashville area. You can do anything you put your mind to.
The SEC Workhorse
Ke’Shawn Vaughn would run for 1,244 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2018. Few defenders in the SEC could contain, let alone catch the speedy Vaughn. He would lead the conference with a blistering 7.9 yards per carry.
Vaughn would earn the nickname Mamba, along the way. A nod to shifty RB De’Anthony Thomas(formerly of Oregon, and Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens). Also, a nod to NBA Legend, Kobe Bryant. The December before the Buccaneers drafted him in 2020, Vaughn capped a monster season with a legendary performance against Baylor in the Texas Bowl. On the day he ran for 243 yards on 13 carries(18.7 yards per carry) and scored two touchdowns. It was the second highest single-game performance in Vanderbilt history and set a bee Texas Bowl record.
Being a member of the Super Bowl championship Buccaneers team was just the start for this kid. Even with Fournette back on a one-year deal, RoJo on his last year of his rookie contract. With the addition of the ‘stache, Gio Bernard. The Buccaneers running back room looks like a lot of other positional groups on this championship squad. Pretty stacked.
But as for this beast from Nashville who turns twenty-five today. The Vanderbilt product that set the tone in the SEC before coming to Tampa Bay. Happy Birthday, Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Many Buccaneers fans liked what they saw from your appearances last season. Look forward to seeing what your able to accomplish your sophomore season here as a Buccaneer. And most important of all. On your birthday, and all. Here’s to you having your cake and eating it too.
Happy Birthday Ke’Shawn.