Spotlight on Gaddis vs. Rice Matchup

CLEMSON – Covering big-time star receivers is nothing new for Clemson cornerback C.J. Gaddis. He was matched up against Calvin Johnson nearly three quarters of the time and the Georgia Tech receiver turned in his worst day ever as a college player.

This week, Gaddis, who is ranked as one of the top five junior cornerbacks in the nation by ESPN NFL Draft guru, Mel Kiper, Jr., will no doubt see plenty of time against South Carolina star receiver Sidney Rice.

It's a challenge the junior defensive back is anticipating.

"It's going to be fun," Gaddis said. "He's going to get our best shot just like we give everybody. But we've got a little more emotion behind it."

When Johnson was pitted against Gaddis and the Tigers, he failed to catch a single pass for the first time in his collegiate career.

Against Clemson last year, Rice lit up the defense in the first half, hauling in five receptions for 93 yards. But it was in the final 30 minutes of play that Gaddis and company shut Rice down.

In the second half, Rice managed just two catches for 29 yards, and those came on South Carolina's first possession of the half.

"We just kept somebody up under him the whole time," Gaddis said. "With a receiver like that, you've got to have somebody (over and under him). You don't have to do it all the time, but you have to do something."

No offense to the All-American in Atlanta, but Gaddis thinks Rice is every bit of Johnson's equal and maybe more.

"He's not as big, but just as good," Gaddis said. "(Rice) may be a little bit better after the catch. Both are incredible receivers, especially with the deep ball."

With Blake Mitchell back as the signal caller for the Gamecocks, Rice is even more dangerous. He thrives going after the long pass, which is Mitchell's specialty.

Even so, Gaddis is fully confident he and his teammates can limit Rice's production.

"I know I can hold guys like that (down)," Gaddis said. "They're talented guys. I'm confident in whoever I cover, regardless of who they may be. But no way am I going to underestimate Sidney Rice. He's going to go out there and get my best shot just like Johnson did." Top Stories