Gaddis Learning from the Best in Philly

Former Clemson free safety C.J. Gaddis has left the Tigers for the professional ranks, but the Philadelphia Eagles rookie admits that his thoughts are never far from Clemson.

Other Training Camp Updates:
* Checking in with Charlie Whitehurst
* LeRoy Hill Still Follows His Tigers
* Fudge Shows Staying Power
* Dustin Fry Competing for Playing Time in St. Louis
* Tye Hill Adjusting Well in Year No. 2

Gaddis, who gave up his last year of eligibility to enter the 2007 NFL Draft, was a fifth-round pick of the Eagles and is currently going through his first NFL training camp. He does have a fellow ex-Tiger who has been there before in Brian Dawkins to give him a few pointers, but for now, Gaddis is getting a baptism by fire into the world of pro football.

He is currently just behind Dawkins on the depth chart at free safety, giving that position a definite Clemson flavor.

Gaddis was kind enough to give CUTigers a phone interview from camp and here is that conversation.

CUTigers: How do you look back on your time at Clemson?
Gaddis: It was a great experience. There's nothing like playing there, especially on game day. There are a lot of people. I dearly miss it and appreciate the opportunity to play there. There was nothing like it on game days. Having the opportunity to go there, I feel blessed. It was a very special place to me.

CUTigers: You aren't the only ex-Tiger with the Eagles. How much has Brian Dawkins helped show you the ropes so far?
Gaddis: He hasn't quite let me know the secret yet. He has told me to watch game film. He's really hard on me and grates on the young DBs. He puts his foot down on me a little harder than everyone else. I don't really know what that's about or if it's a good or bad thing. I told him not to be easy on me but that any knowledge he could pass on to me, it would be appreciated. He helps make me better and I appreciate it.

CUTigers: How has your first training camp gone thus far?
Gaddis: It's been a lot of hard work, especially learning the playbook and having so many things in my head. But, that's what we're here to do and I'm trying to grasp everything the best that I can. I think that I'm doing a good job. It's been exactly what it's supposed to be-about hard work and dedication. It's something that I will never forget.

FF6600>"It was a great experience. There's nothing like playing there, especially on game day. There are a lot of people. I dearly miss it and appreciate the opportunity to play there. There was nothing like it on game days."
CUTigers: What has been the biggest adjustment for you off the field in the NFL?
Gaddis: The biggest adjustment off the field has been the sacrifices that I have had to make to get to this point and also to stay here. You're not just a little person anymore, everyone here knows who you are. I can barely show my face in Philadelphia without people recognizing me. I never thought about that before, but I do now. You have more responsibility now. I am my own guy now. I'm proud to be, but it's a lot of work.

CUTigers: What about on the field?
Gaddis: It's a little bit faster but I haven't had that much trouble adjusting to it. The better I get acquainted with my playbook, the slower the game comes for me. Anytime I catch myself out there moving pretty fast, I am actually playing pretty fast. It's not surprising but I feel like the more I know my playbook, the better I can play.

CUTigers: How many Clemson home games do you plan to make this year?
Gaddis: I will try my best to make the first game. I want to be there so bad and will try my best to be there. Any home game that I can make, I will be there. We will see how it goes and go from there.

CUTigers: Give your thoughts on the returning talent at Clemson.
Gaddis: They're sick. They have a lot of talent down there but it's just a matter of getting out there and doing it. We'll see how they do. They have a ton of talent down there and we will see how it goes for them this year.

CUTigers: Does being a former quarterback help you as a defensive back?
Gaddis: It's definitely not overrated. It does give me an insight into what the QB is thinking and how I would approach certain situations. I never was a quarterback at this level, but sometimes the instincts will keep in and I will recognize certain techniques they use. It definitely helps me.

CUTigers: You went in the fifth round after coming out a year early. What are your thoughts on that?
Gaddis: I went a little lower than were I thought I would, but I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Looking back on it, I ended up in the best spot I possibly could have for me to be able to play as a rookie. I am looking at a solid bit of playing time and should be on the field a lot this year. I can't wait to showcase my talent. I think everything will come back to me quickly. It's not a big deal because I'm living my dream of playing in the NFL. I feel blessed to be here and can't wait for my career to unfold.

C.J. Gaddis (Champs Sports Bowl '05 Top Stories