ATHENS -- Sam Vaughn knows East Rutherford Street.
Before Vaughn became the right-handed, sidearm thrower in the Georgia bullpen, he was an unheralded walk-on quarterback. In the summer of 2014, he spent much of his time outside of class at the football practice facility off of East Rutherford Street.
But as Vaughn went to practice through 2014, he looked across the street every day at Foley Field. As a former high school baseball player himself, he was all too familiar with the sounds of metal bats and balls pounding mitts that rang out across the street.
Vaughn listened to this every day, and, standing on the other side of East Rutherford Street, he knew something was missing.
Never miss a local story.
"I do remember walking by the baseball field last year while we were practicing and texting my mom and telling her I missed it," Vaughn said.
As a high school athlete out of Fort Pierce, Florida, Vaughn played both baseball and football, but he was definitely recruited more for his football skills. He garnered a few offers, including Florida A&M and Georgetown, before heading to Georgia as a preferred walk-on.
During the recruiting process, Vaughn considered playing both sports. But when he spurned his Georgetown commitment to attend Georgia, baseball was dead, as far as he was concerned.
"I had a lot more interest for football. I kind of thought baseball would be done and football would be the route," Vaughn said. "I had talked to some of the football schools about playing baseball, both. A few of them said that if I talked to the baseball coaches and I could help them that they would think about letting me do it, but it didn't really get past that."
Vaughn, however, had a certain intrigue to him. As a pitcher, he comes at batters with a true submarine delivery. Especially for right-handed hitters, picking the ball up from that delivery can be difficult, making submarine pitchers great situational matchups.
"It's unique," Georgia head coach Scott Stricklin said. "If you can do it and you can throw strikes, you don't have to throw 90 miles an hour. There's plenty of guys at this level throwing 78 to 81 miles and hour that throw from the side because it's just so funky. It's so hard to hit."
Vaughn wasn't always a sidearm pitcher, but he picked up the skill on a suggestion from his summer ball coach, Frank Schaeffer, now the pitching coach at Alcorn State.
While learning to throw sidearm helped Vaughn make his journey to becoming a two-sport athlete, the triangle connecting Vaughn, Stricklin and Schaeffer is what ultimately gave Vaughn his shot.
Through the 2015 recruiting cycle, Stricklin was targeting Vaughn's former summer ball teammate and junior college transfer Matt Schaeffer, a side-arm pitcher himself and the son of Frank Schaeffer. When Matt committed to Appalachian State, Frank suggested that Stricklin get in touch with Vaughn.
Just before school started in August, after a summer full of football, Vaughn went out to Foley Field to throw for Stricklin. Although he originally planned on just loosening up his arm, he ended up doing something he hadn't done in a year and a half -- throwing a bullpen session.
"It was probably a week before school started, and we all got out here and he came out here to throw," said catcher Aaron Rzucidlo, who Vaughn befriended the summer before his freshman year and caught that first bullpen. "The next thing you know, he's throwing a pen and didn't really have time to prepare for it, so it was good."
Said Vaughn, "I felt really good throwing, which I was kind of shocked by. Throwing a football has definitely kept my arm in shape."
The next few months were spent balancing football with baseball, getting his arm in shape for both sports and adjusting to his new life as a two-sport athlete.
"I had finally kind of gotten comfortable over there (at football)," Vaughn said. "Coming here was a new setting, new atmosphere. It took some adjusting. It's different, but it was something that I enjoy."
The results of Vaughn's comfort have shown, and Stricklin has entrusted him with some high-leverage situations already in the first couple weekends in the season, a role that he expects Vaughn to continue to fill throughout the season.
Still, the life of a two-sport athlete is going to continue to throw new challenges at Vaughn. Soon, he will have to begin the first spring practice under new football head coach Kirby Smart while balancing the brunt of the SEC baseball schedule.
Although it won't be easy, Vaughn wouldn't have it any other way.
"It was a dream of mine to come here," Vaughn said. "It was a dream of mine to play football or baseball, and I'm getting to do both right now and I'm pretty happy with it."