While Sgt. 1st Class Carroll Gaddis, a former instructor at the Aerial Field and Delivery Services Department, is transitioning into retirement after more than 20 years of service in the Army, his son, C.J. is preparing for a new transition of his own.
After the longest first round draft in NFL history, the Philadelphia Eagles called on C.J. as their first pick on the second day of selections. C.J., the 21-year-old Clemson cornerback, was selected Saturday in the fifth round, along with fellow cornerback Rashad Barksdale from Albany, to bolster the Eagles defense.
“I’m a proud dad right now,” said Gaddis, during a telephone interview from Fayetteville, N.C., where his family has now settled. “All his hard work and dedication has paid off for him now, and I’m just proud and happy for his success.”
C.J. was unavailable for comment, as he was speaking with his agent at the time, but his father recalled for him the moment C.J.’s name was announced on ESPN during the draft.
“That was the probably the best and most proud moment I can recall,” said Gaddis. “We all had a draft party here at home, and C.J. was a little disappointed that he wasn’t selected on the first day, but he was ecstatic when he was picked up by the Eagles.”
Gaddis said his son was originally a baseball fanatic growing up in Raeford, N.C. In the seventh grade, C.J. began playing football, and played both sports throughout high school. Gaddis excelled in football which led to an impressive career at Clemson, where he was their first non-starter to have an interception in three consecutive games. C.J. decided to enter the draft early, forgoing his senior season at Clemson, a decision he pondered with his family.
“He spoke to his mom and me about entering the draft, and being his dad, I told him that he’s a grown man now and that whatever decision he chose would affect him the rest of his life,” said Gaddis. “His mom didn’t quite care for the decision at first, but you know how mothers can be, but she came to understand what he wanted to do.”
C.J. is currently preparing to join the Eagles mini-camp next week. While Gaddis is settling into retirement after a distinguished Army career, he looks forward to joining his son in Philadelphia and watching his son embark in his new career with the NFL.
“He’s a good kid and deserves this success,” said Gaddis. “He’s following his dream, and I couldn’t be happier for him.”