“Checking the Tape” is a weekly series that highlights the Ole Miss football team’s offseason acquisitions. Whether it’s coaches, transfers or recruits, sports writer Owen Pustell goes in-depth and analyzes each individual. This week, Pustell takes a look at transfer defensive back Deshawn Gaddie.
2022 Stats: 62 Tackles, 13 pass breakups, first team all-conference USA (per Pro Football Focus)
The first thing you notice about Gaddie is his fluidity. He is able to change directions well, brake downhill on in-breaking routes and react in zone coverage.
At North Texas, he played almost exclusively off-coverage, so his length was never fully put to the test in press, but the potential is clearly there. Pairing his hips with his height and (unverified) length is are and gives him the prototype to be a very good cover corner in the SEC next season. Assuming the Ole Miss staff can hammer out some minor flaws, Gaddie should transition well.
Gaddie is very fluid in coverage but has a bad habit of stopping his feet at the collision point when receivers are running past him. Gaddie usually likes to give a two-handed shove to disrupt the route, but that sometimes leaves him behind the WR if they happen to run a go-route. This is a pretty minor technical thing that was likely a result of North Texas coaching. I would not look too far into this next season.
Tackling is not a strong point for Gaddie. I would not label him as scared of contact by any means, but he had some issues wrapping up and taking good angels.
There are times he gets caught behind the line of pursuit and is put into compromising situations. There are other instances where Gaddie makes good contact but fails to really drive the ball carrier back.
There are legitimate concerns about Gaddie being able to make tackles on SEC running backs, but he will certainly not hesitate to get involved.
The most glaring issue with Gaddie stat-wise is a lack of interceptions. Gaddie has recorded just two career interceptions and both came in 2020. This does not necessarily mean that he struggles with ball production. In fact, Gaddie recorded 12 pass breakups last season alone and often finds himself disrupting passes. In football, stats are able to tell some of the story, but the true measure of talent lies only on tape.
The other issue that keeps popping up with transfers is talent level change. Yes, Gaddie played at North Texas. No, that does not mean he will drown in the SEC. Plenty of lower-level transfers have success at big schools. Trust the evaluations and skill set you see on film.
With Davison Igbinosun and Myles Battle both leaving in the portal, there was a void at cornerback. The staff reacted accordingly and brought in a trio of intriguing experienced starters to compete with Deantre Prince for a starting spot on the outside.
Gaddie is the first of the transfers I have reviewed, but he shows legitimate upside with his hips and ability to disrupt passes. It’s too early to pencil in starters, but if Gaddie can clean up some of his issues, his raw traits could make him a starter.
In 2021, Gaddie played both cornerback and safety for the Mean Green. Additionally, Gaddie faced off against fellow Ole Miss commit Tre Harris in 2022.