'Emotions are very high, man': Kansas State's Deuce Vaughn and Reggie Stubblefield excited to play at Texas
MANHATTAN — While Deuce Vaughn spent what little free time he had scrounging tickets for Kansas State's regular-season football finale at Texas, teammate Reggie Stubblefield was too busy riding a wave of emotions.
First came last Saturday's final home game against Baylor at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and the roar from a crowd that appreciated his energy and enthusiasm in just one season with the Wildcats. And now — not counting a bowl game — he'll wrap things up on Friday against a team he idolized growing up.
Both Vaughn, K-State's electric sophomore running back, and Stubblefield have that in common. Both have strong Texas ties.
Vaughn grew up in Round Rock, Texas, just a few miles north of Austin, where his father Chris was an assistant coach for the Longhorns from 2014-16. He now serves as a scout for the Dallas Cowboys.
Stubblefield was born in Lubbock and lists Arlington as his hometown, but he also has family ties to Stubbs, a famous Austin barbecue restaurant.
"Emotions are very high, man," Stubblefield said following the Baylor game. "It's kind of funny, I was telling a couple of my teammates in the locker room, growing up my room was painted orange.
"I always wanted to go to UT since seeing them win the (national) championship in the Rose Bowl."
That is until he ended up at K-State as a one-year graduate transfer from Prairie View A&M, an FCS school. On senior day, he exchanged a long, tearful embrace with Wildcat head coach Chris Klieman when his name was announced.
"K-State is such a great place and that's why I was so emotional, man," said Stubblefield, a defensive back who has played just about every position in the K-State secondary, plus linebacker this year. "It's going to be tough not to play here anymore.
I wish I could have been here for years, man. I love it and I appreciate it."
The road to K-State was not an easy one for Stubblefield, who initially committed to K-State after his final year at Prairie View A&M, looking to take advantage of an extra year granted by the NCAA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At he was declared ineligible, until K-State won an appeal.
"We called him back and said, ‘Hey, we won the appeal. You're coming to Kansas State.’ Just the reaction on the phone of that kid whenever that was — it was in July, I believe, could have been late June — … how excited he was that he got a chance," Klieman recalled. "(Senior day) was a special moment because he realized a couple things.
"One, how fortunate he was to be playing football for starters, and how fortunate he was to be at Kansas State, because he realized in a short period of time how great the fan base is, how great the university is, and how cool it is to say I played football at K-State.”
When his name was announced on senior day, he was greeted with chants of "Sauce Boss," a reference to his Stubbs barbecue connection.
"I heard about it. The crowd was so loud I didn't hear the 'Sauce Boss' chant," Stubblefield said. "My emotions were so high, I honestly forgot about it.
"I saw a couple of videos people sent in after the game. I just appreciate it.
It's kind of funny. I've only been here a semester, four months, and I already have a nickname. So I just thank everybody."
And now he is headed to Austin — kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium — where he again will be put through an emotional wringer.
"It's emotional, man, because I always wanted to go there," Stubblefield said. "Of course I'm not there, but last game around Austin, around Stubbs, my family, everybody, I'm just so excited and grateful to have the opportunity.
"Who would have thought this kid from Prairie View A&M, his last collegiate football game is playing the team he grew up loving? It's kind of crazy, but everything happens for a reason and I'm just grateful."
Homecoming for Vaughn
Vaughn definitely cheered for Texas when his father coached there, but he didn't have quite the emotional attachment to the Longhorns as Stubblefield did. For him it is more about playing close to where he grew up.
"It's going to be exciting," Vaughn said. "I get to have a lot of people come up to the game that helped me get to this point that I'm in right now.
"I can't take any of the credit — from high school coaches to mentors and teachers and family friends and friends and people like that. It's going to be pretty cool to have them see me play."
Without divulging his exact ticket requirements for the game, he did report Monday that the number was getting up there.
"It's going to be pretty high," he said. "As far as getting (tickets) from my teammates, probably about 25, 30, and then we were a little bit proactive and had some people start buying some tickets because we couldn't get them all from the team."
Jaelon Travis dismissed from team
Klieman announced Monday that redshirt freshman Jaelon Travis has been dismissed from the football program for a violation of team rules. He did not elaborate.
Travis, from Mansfield, Texas, did not play during the 2020 season and his only appearance this year came against Kansas. He did not record any statistics.