Recruiting 101 for Parents: Girl Talk with mUTha hustla (aka Natalia Vaughns)

Texas Longhorn Head Coach Tom Herman brought mUTha hustla (aka Natalia Vaughns) to national recognition when he asked, “Does it get better than mUTha hustla?” and noted, “She might be our best recruiter.”

I knew I wanted to meet the mom who made a recruiting splash and after a fun conversation with her I have to say, mUTha hustla is the best!

Natalia Vaughns calls herself “mUTha hustla” for a good reason; she’s a mother of four children, Byron (17), Nakayla (8), Pryze (4) and Ayva (2). Once her son Byron committed to Texas to play football, she updated her moniker to emphasize the “UT.” Byron graduates this spring from Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth and will check in at Texas in May.

In addition to her family, Natalia also runs a graphic design business and, an online store for her Sweet Tees by NV line. We met for a fun chat about football recruiting from a parent’s perspective recently.When I asked Natalia how she became a recruitment celebrity, her initial response was, “I was being myself, super-nosy and super-active.” She started monitoring Byron’s recruitment correspondence from coaches on Twitter. From there, her activity skyrocketed and Byron suggested she needed her own account, which is where you can find her today at the handle @NNVaughns.

Once Byron made his commitment to Texas, Natalia used her social media contacts to meet up with other parents of the Class of 2018. Her reasoning is simple: she wants to know her son’s teammates and their families. I told her I appreciated that she still wanted to know her son’s friends even if he was going away to college and she reminded me, “He’s still 17!” I found this perspective refreshing and something we tend to forget about college players: they are still young men.

While the Class of 2018 forged close ties as families, Natalia also wants to know other team families. She has a long-term vision of renting a big house in Austin for a game weekend once or twice a year. The rental would provide a place for team families to relax and enjoy the weekend in Austin.

Idea: If anyone has leads on a place to offer, reach out to her at her Twitter handle!

 Finally, I asked what advice she would give to families with sons going through the recruitment process. “Be visible and involved as much as possible,” were her first suggestions, followed by, “Contact the coaches. Don’t harass them, but see if they are open to communicating with you; it helps determine if you want your son to be there.” I loved her final piece of advice, “Have fun!” Recruitment is a celebration of a parent’s work in investing in their son’s career and enjoying the process is allowed.

Overall, I found mUTha hustla authentic and funny. She hopes to offer recruiting advice to parents on a website she plans to launch later this year. She admits she’s “not a sports-head,” which provides her with a balanced look at the recruiting process. Most of all, she’s a caring mom who works to instill good values in her children. We wish her luck as a college football mom, and will catch up with her again over the season!

Guest Writer: Laura Leigh Majernik

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