Ke’Shawn Vaughn to return to Vanderbilt for redshirt senior season


Claire Barnett

Vanderbilt plays Baylor in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Thursday, December 27, 2018. (Photo by Claire Barnett)

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

The Mamba is sliding his way back to West End.

Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn announced on Thursday he will be returning for his redshirt senior season, foregoing the chance to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Nashville native burst onto the scene this season with the Commodores after transferring from Illinois. In the regular season, Vaughn led the SEC with 7.0 yards per carry, seven rushes of 40 or more yards and three rushes of 60 or more yards. Despite missing nearly two full games, Vaughn still finished fifth in the SEC in rushing yards with 1,001. He was just the sixth running back in Vanderbilt history to break 1,000 yards in a season.

He gained national attention during the Texas Bowl with the performance of a lifetime, as he rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries. The two scores came on two runs of 60 or more yards and he had one more long run that came up just short of the goal line.

In his pre-bowl rankings, ESPN’s Todd McShay listed Vaughn as the eighth-best back in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Commodores now return arguably their top two offensive weapons in Vaughn and wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb, who announced his return for his senior season before the Texas Bowl. Tight end Jared Pinkney has yet to announce his decision regarding his future, but reported that he is enrolled on campus this semester.

Pinkney has until Monday to declare for the draft or return for his redshirt senior season.