MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State saw two more of its former football players selected on the final day of the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday, as defensive back Josh Hayes and running back Deuce Vaughn were both drafted in the sixth round. Hayes was selected with the fourth pick of the round – No. 181 overall – by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Vaughn was drafted with the 35th pick of the round – No. 212 overall – by the Dallas Cowboys.
K-State concluded the draft with four of its players selected, which was the most since four were selected in 2003.
Hayes was the eighth Wildcat ever to be selected by Tampa Bay and the first since quarterback Josh Freeman in 2009. Vaughn is just the third K-State player selected by the Cowboys and the first since cornerback Terence Newman went fifth overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. Vaughn’s selection was even more special as his father, Chris, is a scout for the Cowboys.
A transfer from North Dakota State prior to the 2022 season, Hayes played in 68 career games with 38 starts over parts of six seasons, including 13 starts during his lone season in Manhattan. Despite missing the season opener due to injury, Hayes still ranked third on the team in tackles (71) and tackles for loss (5.5), while he broke up seven passes. His highwater mark for tackles was 11 at Iowa State to go along with a TFL and a pass breakup as he earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Vaughn, a product of Round Rock, Texas, left K-State with the school records for receptions (116) and receiving yards (1,280) by a running back, while he also ranked in the top 10 in 12 other categories. Just the second player in school history to earn two Consensus All-America honors, Vaughn was also just the third player in school history with multiple 1,000-yard seasons, joining Darren Sproles (2002, 2003, 2004) and Daniel Thomas (2009, 2010). Additionally, Vaughn is the only player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and receiving, while he was the only player in school history to reach 3,000 all-purpose yards prior to the end of his sophomore season.
In 2022, Vaughn earned First Team All-America honors from Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Sporting News and The Athletic, while he earned All-Big 12 First Team honors as an all-purpose player from the AP as he was the only player in the nation with over 1,500 rushing yards and 350 receiving yards. He ended his junior season ranked eighth nationally in total rushing yards (1,558), 12th in all-purpose yards per game (138.29) and 15th in rushing yards per game (111.3).
More former Wildcats could join NFL teams as organizations begin to sign rookie free agents in the coming days. Those will be announced as they made public by their respective organizations.