On a single play during his sophomore year, Wake Forest safety Chip Vaughn
changed the way the Deacons approached their field goal defensive strategy.
As Vaughn tells it, with Wake Forest clinging to a 14-13 lead, Duke was
poised to win the game on a field goal attempt from six yards out with just six
"I was in a starting rotation with two seniors at the time, and one of
the starters went down at the end of the first quarter," he told Scout.com.
"I was never on the field-goal block team before, and all year our coach
said that as a safety, the only thing you had to look for is the fake."
But as he assessed the situation, Vaughn realized that it made no sense for
Duke to try a fake from that close when all they needed was a chip-shot field
"I decided to go up and jump and I blocked the kick. I think that
jump-started my career as far as me having confidence," he said. "That
was the first game where I played a lot of time, got into a groove, and then
that kick sparked everything from there."
Photo:Wake Forest Athletics
While the coaching staff was ecstatic to see the win preserved, an old-school
coach certainly could have faulted the young safety for making the decision to
switch his assignment. But that didn't happen in Vaughn's case.
"After that, the free safety never checked for the fake again, he was
always the designated jump guy," he said with a laugh. "I guess the
coaches didn't have a kid who could jump that high before, but after I did it
it, it was always in there. I guess I started a new field-goal block defense at
Vaughn, whose first name is Clarence, has been called Chip ever since he was
"My real name is Clarence because I was born on the same day as my great
grandfather, but I've been named Chip since I was a baby. My grandmother gave me
the name because during the daytime I got real dark and at night I got light, so
I changed colors like a chocolate chip," he said with a laugh. "So
that's how it started and it's stuck ever since."
A double-major in sociology and religion at Wake Forest, the 6-foot-1,
221-pound defensive back grew up as a fan of the Green Bay Packers.
"That was only because my Pee Wee football team had the same colors and
symbol as Green Bay, so I started liking them since I was about six years
old," he said. "My favorite player was Brett Favre. I also liked
Antonio Freeman, Reggie White, and Sterling Sharpe. There was a whole bunch of
Vaughn has worked out for the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots,
and he's visited the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. The Buffalo Bills,
Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos,
Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Giants all showed interest in him at Wake
Forest's Pro Day. His 4.4-second 40 speed combined with his physical size have
pushed him into the mix as one of the top safeties in this year's NFL Draft
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or contact him by email
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