In January, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn made some staff changes. He demoted running backs coach Tim Horton to an off-field role. Horton declined his new job with the Tigers, deciding to instead be an on-field running backs coach at Vanderbilt.

When Commodores coach Derek Mason was asked about Horton to his staff, he couldn’t help but gush.

“Now, as for Tim Horton, you talk about acquiring Tim from Auburn as our running backs coach, let me tell you, there’s nobody more excited about Tim Horton than Ke’Shawn Vaughn,” Mason said. “He knows who he’s coached. He’s know who’s been around. And I thought it was special, magical, to see those two work together as we went through spring. caught up with Vaughn to talk about Horton. It’s safe to say Mason wasn’t exaggerating.

“Coach Horton’s a great coach,” Vaughn said. “One thing about him, he makes everybody in the room feel included — from the starter down to whoever the last string is. The last string’s going to know the plays just as well as the starter do. And that’s something that you don’t see many coaches doing. He keeps everybody involved. He’s very active. He’s a family man, so he likes to have that family bond, even with his players.

“And then you see all the players he has coached, all the SEC Players of the Year he has coached. So, with somebody with that much experience, you want to take everything in that they talk about.”

Horton’s list of “players coached” from his time at Auburn and Arkansas is a who’s who of SEC leading rushers and NFL running backs, including Kerryon Johnson, Kamryn Pettway, Cameron Artis-Payne, Tre Mason, Darren McFadden, Knile Davis, Peyton Hillis and Felix Jones. If Vaughn has the season some are expecting, he may be mentioned alongside some of those stud ball-carriers.