PNG grad Lance Vaughn flips on-field success as he helps Johnson navigate NFL

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, April 30, 2024

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A running back is often tasked with lining up next to a quarterback to pass block as his last line of defense against a free blitzer.

Since graduating from Port Neches-Groves High in 2021, Lance Vaughn has gone from making plays on the field and protecting quarterbacks to helping former PNG quarterback Roschon Johnson manage his busy schedule as an NFL running back.

Vaughn’s path to his new passion was not typical.

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The former running back accepted a scholarship to play for Coe College after graduating from PNG in 2021. Without much playing time, he decided to leave Coe and transfer to Texas State.

Before he left, he made sure to go out with a bang. His last touch as a college football player was a 70-yard run for a touchdown.

Vaughn intended walk on at Texas State, but a coaching change late in the process forced him to change his plans.

“It was different,” he said. “It wasn’t the right time and it wasn’t what God had in store for me. I was dealing with that. It was different. It was the first time in my life I wasn’t playing football. I was just going to school. It was a transition for me. I don’t take anything for granted and wouldn’t take anything back.”

While he was no longer putting on pads, Vaughn knew his heart was close to the game he loved so much.

“I wanted to do what I could to stay around football,” he said. “That led me to start my own business, which is the management side.”

As Roschon Johnson prepared for the NFL draft, the two were talking about the struggles of balancing his busy schedule.

“When he was still at Texas, I started working with him,” Vaughn said. “(Johnson) was telling me he needed a manager. He wanted someone he could trust, and I told him I could do that.”

From there the two began to lean on each other. Vaughn compares the relationship to that of LeBron James and his close friend and now-agent Rich Paul.

“I’m not an agent,” Vaughn said. “But that his who I base it off of. Going into the draft process, it was good for me. Him being my first client, I learned a lot about the NFL. We were both going through it together. I was able to see it and take notes on what I can do to help the next guy whenever I get more clients.”

Vaughn wants to have five clients by the end of the year.

Johnson said selecting Vaughn to help navigate the new world was an easy decision.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Lance since I was in middle school,” Johnson said. “Even when he was playing football, I saw him come to the field with me when I would go run the sleds at 5 or 6 in the morning. He was right there. He has always been very helpful and never had a problem helping others. I feel like he has helped me tremendously in my rookie year as a personal manger and helping me adjust to the league. He is definitely an asset to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow his business.”

The admiration is mutual.

“I saw him working hard and realized he was the blueprint,” Vaughn said of Johnson. “I knew I needed to work as hard as him or harder to get to where I want to be. I carry my work like I am on the football field. I used to want to be the strongest and fastest, but now I want to be the most prepared and the smartest.”

Vaughn helped Johnson set up his June camp at PNG.

He said the biggest lesson learned over the first year is being patient.

“You have to be calm and ready,” Vaughn said. “My parent’s work ethic is really good. My dad always tells me and my brother to do what we must do so we can do what we want to do. That is something that I have always carried with me. I know I have to get certain things done so I can do what I want to do.”