Every Tuesday over the summer, we’re going to highlight individual players on the 2012-13 Syracuse football team. This week, we feature linebacker Dan Vaughan.
There are two general scenarios in locker rooms after games. Either there are high fives, chest-bumps and friendly chatter or hushed tones, long faces and aimless staring.
Syracuse fell into the latter category in the final five games of its 2011 season, and the atmosphere was at an all time low following Syracuse’s 30-13 loss to Pitt in the season finale.
“It’s pretty somber in there especially after you start off so great with a 5-2 season and then go on and lose five from there,” linebacker Dan Vaughan said. “We had an opportunity to make a bowl game and there were high expectations. We were ready for this game but things didn’t work out. It was a disappointing loss.”
Vaughan, now a graduate student, went on to say that he felt “horrible for the seniors” who would not be back, because their careers would end on such a sad note.
Fortunately for Syracuse, and Vaughan, he’s back for his fifth season in Orange. Last year, he was second on the team with 72 tackles (40 solo), including 6.5 for a loss of yards in 12 games.
Vaughan will be an integral part of a defense that will try to rebound from giving up 28.5 points per game last season, which left SU ranked 73rd in the NCAA.
“We need to mature because we are a young group of kids,” Vaughan said after the loss to the Panthers. “Everyone has to know what their role is and execute it perfectly.”
Vaughan executed well in the spring game, with four tackles in a game where the defense accounted for all nine points scored in the game.
Inside Slant: The linebacking core is one of the deepest units on the Orange. Vaughan is an all conference caliber player who will be teamed with senior Siriki Diabate. Both bring plenty of experience, while sophomores Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch both played in every single game last year. The wildcard will be sophomore Marquis Spruill, who sat out the entire spring practice after having surgery on a lower body injury.
Career Highlights: Last season, Vaughan played in all 12 games, starting 11 of them. He had his best game against Rutgers, where he recorded a career high 15 tackles. He’s played in every game since his sophomore year, and has been on the Big East All Academic Team from 2009-2011.Wesley Cheng