Countdown to Kickoff: 28 days away with defensive back Vaughn Malone, running back Devrin Weathers

Leading up to the start of K-State's 2021 football season, the Collegian takes a look at what to expect and highlights every player on the roster. (Archive photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Two players are wearing No. 28 for the Wildcats this season — defensive back Vaughn Malone and running back Devrin Weathers.

Malone comes with a Big 12 connection — at least for the next few seasons — with his dad, Van Malone, playing football at Texas. Van Malone, an All-American at Texas, is now the assistant head coach for Kansas State.

Van played five seasons for the Detroit Lions before hanging up the cleats. He has since coached football for 23 years.

Still, this connection didn’t guarantee Vaughn a free spot on the team. Van said in an interview with the Manhattan Mercury that getting Vaughn to K-State took some effort.

“I had to threaten him a little bit, let him know if he went to another school he wouldn’t be getting any allowance,” Van said in the interview. “I had to convince him that this was the best place for him and I was the best coach for him.”

The younger Malone originally wanted to attend Texas State just 45 minutes away from his hometown in Austin, Texas, but ultimately decided to join his father in Manhattan. He signed a preferred walk-on to join the team.

“I pretty much made my decision once he came here,” Malone said in an interview with the Manhattan Mercury. “Once I figured out he was going to be coaching corners, I’m like, ‘Well, this might be the easiest way to get on the field. If he’s coaching, I might get a chance to play.'”

As a redshirt sophomore, Malone is entering his third season in the program without seeing any playing time. At 5 foot 11 inches and 178 pounds, Malone has the size for a college defensive back.

However, the lack of playing time doesn’t mean he isn’t getting any looks. On Twitter, Malone has racked up a student-athlete of the week award and a scout-team player of the week award, showing coaches are keeping an eye on him.

In high school, Malone earned honorable mention all-district honors as a senior in football powerhouse Texas. Perhaps his most impressive achievement is running the 800-meter relay in 1:32.35.

As he progresses in the program, Malone might get more chances for playing time, but his father being a coach won’t give him any freebies. He is majoring in human ecology.

The second player wearing No. 28 this season is freshman running back Devrin Weathers.

Weathers is a three-star prospect from Webb City High School in Webb City, Missouri, just outside the Kansas border in the Joplin area.

Weathers decided on committing to K-State even after receiving offers from other solid programs like Missouri, Iowa State and Navy.

Weathers racked up 4,500 yards and 59 touchdowns during his high school career. A state champion as a junior, Weathers helped Webb City go 26-4 during his final two seasons.

His performance earned him plenty of honors, including first-team all-state as a junior and senior by the Missouri Football Coaches Association, along with conference and Joplin Globe player of the year. Rivals named Weathers the 14th best prospect in Missouri.

Even with these offensive accolades, head coach Chris Klieman said he wasn’t sure where Weathers would start out, stating his athleticism could put him on either side of the football.

“Devrin was fun to watch because we didn’t know to project him as a defensive back, a linebacker, we knew he could be a running back,” Klieman said in an interview with K-State Athletics. “So, at his size and athleticism — he’s a phenomenal baseball player too — but at his athleticism, we said we just have to get the kid in the program.”

After hours of film breakdown, Klieman decided to keep Weathers training on offense … for now.

“I just think, athletically, when you have somebody with his skillset and his ability to run and be physical like he is, he was going to be a can’t miss and was going to help us somewhere…” Klieman said.

As Klieman said, Weathers was also a standout in baseball. He was named an area first-team player after batting .500 with 38 stolen bases as an outfielder. With football programs turning more and more to speed and athleticism, Weathers is the type of guy that fits into a program in today’s game.

Weathers relies on more than just talent, working hard to get where he is. His high school coach, John Roderique, credits Weathers’ ability to show up every day to his growing maturity.

“He’s got better days ahead,” Roderique said in an interview with the Joplin Globe. “K-State is getting a great young man. He’s fun to be around, and I enjoyed coaching him every day.”

At 6 feet tall and 188 pounds, there’s no telling if Weathers will get any playing time soon. The coaching staff seems to like him, so opportunities might come around. Weathers is majoring in business administration.