The Atlanta Falcons Rookie Mini Camp kicks off Thursday in Flowery Branch and one of Dawson County’s own will be taking the field as former Tiger standout Harley Vaughan has been invited to tryout for the hometown team.
“I think anyone who grew up in Georgia or around the Atlanta area at least had a dream to play for the Falcons at one point in time,” Vaughan said. “I’ve always liked the Falcons. They’re my favorite NFL team, so to get a call from them, it’s a blessing and it’s also pretty exciting that I have a chance to show them what I can do and possibly make the team.”
Vaughan was most recently a second-team All-American selection his senior year at West Georgia, where he set the school-record for most games played and starts in a career. The 2013 Dawson County High School graduate started every game for West Georgia since his freshman year, earning All-Conference and All-American honors throughout his college career.
At 6’3” and 295 lbs., Vaughan played center on the offensive line in his junior and senior year at West Georgia and that is the position he will be trying out for with the Falcons. However, the Falcons weren’t the only team to offer Vaughan an invitation to their rookie mini-camp.
According to Vaughan, the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Chargers also reached out with mini-camp invites, but the Falcons were the ones who texted Vaughan the most throughout the draft process making his decision to stay close to home a no-brainer.
The Dawson County native has not signed a contract with the Falcons unlike some other undrafted free-agents who will be at the minicamp. Vaughan said that the Falcons are bringing in a couple other people at the same center position as him to try out as well.
“It’s just whoever the best man is at this minicamp is probably going to be the one who ends up getting the contract and signed,” Vaughan said. “So honestly the impression I’m trying to make is to go over there and let (the Falcons) know that I’m the one, I’m the guy out of all the people that are there that they need to sign.
“You got to give me the chance and I’ll show you what I can do. Let them know that they didn’t make a mistake in giving me a chance.”
All Vaughan has ever needed was a chance. Not highly recruited out of Dawson County, West Georgia gave him a chance. He got on the field with West Georgia and now the Falcons are giving him a chance to do the same.
“The thing I’ve learned is that if you can play football, and you’re good enough, (the NFL) will find you,” said Vaughan about his journey to this point. “And they will give you a chance and all you need is one chance regardless of where you’re at.”
Vaughan will look to become only the second ever Dawson County High School alum to suit up for an NFL team. Punter Chad Cunningham (Class of 2006) had a brief four-year career as a member of the Tennessee Titans.