Jeff Gladney
No. 20
Position:Cornerback
Personal information
Born:(1996-12-12)December 12, 1996
New Boston, Texas
Died:May 30, 2022(2022-05-30) (aged 25)
Dallas, Texas
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school:New Boston
(New Boston, Texas)
College:TCU (2015–2019)
NFL Draft:2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 31
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • First-team All-Big 12 (2019)
  • Second-team All-Big 12 (2018)
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:84
Forced fumbles:1
Pass deflections:3
Interceptions:0
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Jeff Gee Gladney (December 12, 1996 – May 30, 2022) was an American football cornerback of the National Football League (NFL) for two seasons. He played college football at the Texas Christian University and was a twice all-conference selection in the Big 12. He was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2022, but never played for the team before his death.

High school career

Playing at New Boston High School in New Boston, Texas, Gladney was a three-star recruit[1] and signed with Texas Christian University (TCU) to play college football for the TCU Horned Frogs on February 5, 2015,[2] after originally committing to the program on June 6, 2014.[3] Gladney chose TCU over offers from North Texas, Northern Illinois, Rice, Texas State, Tulsa, and UTSA.[3]

College career

Gladney redshirted his freshman year due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained during his senior year in high school,[4] but then was a four-year starter at Texas Christian University.[5] During his junior season, Gladney made waves as a cover corner, earning first-team all-Big 12 Conference by Pro Football Focus and second-team all-Big 12 by the coaches.[6] He injured a meniscus before his senior season but played the whole year, waiting for surgery until after the conclusion of the season.[7] Over his TCU career, he recorded five interceptions and was named to the 2020 Senior Bowl roster after his senior season[8] as well as garnering first-team all-Big 12 honors by the Associated Press.[9]

NFL draft evaluators praised Gladney for his physical style of play.[10]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10+14 in
(1.78 m)
191 lb
(87 kg)
31+78 in
(0.81 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.48 s 7.26 s 37.5 in
(0.95 m)
10 ft 4 in
(3.15 m)
17 reps
All values from NFL Combine[11]

Minnesota Vikings

Gladney was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round with the 31st overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.[12]

Heading into his first training camp, Gladney competed for a starting job against Mike Hughes, Holton Hill, and fellow rookie Cameron Dantzler, and ended up starting every game of the 2020 season as cornerback from Week 2 onwards.[13] In Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons, Gladney recorded his first forced fumble on running back Brian Hill which was recovered by the Vikings during the 40–23 loss.[14] Overall, Gladney finished the 2020 season with 81 total tackles, three passes defensed, and one forced fumble.[15]

Gladney was released on August 3, 2021, after his indictment for domestic violence.[16] In March 2022, he was found not guilty of the charges.[17]

Arizona Cardinals

On March 16, 2022, Gladney signed with the Arizona Cardinals.[18]

Personal life and death

Gladney had one son, born in 2021.[19] Gladney was close friends with fellow 2020 first round draft pick and current Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor.[20]

On May 30, 2022, Gladney and his girlfriend, Mercedes Palacios, were killed in a car crash in Dallas, Texas, at 2:30 am. Police reports indicated that Gladney's Mercedes SUV clipped a car, while traveling at an excessive speed; his vehicle then spun off the road, crashed into a brick wall, and ignited into flames. Gladney was 25 years old; Palacios was 26.[21][19][22]

References

  1. ^ "Jeff Gladney, New Boston, Athlete". 247Sports. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Richert, Josh (February 5, 2015). "On The Dotted Line". Texarkana Gazette. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Graham, Mike (June 6, 2014). "New Boston's Jeff Gladney commits to TCU". ETSN. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  4. ^ Brugler, Dane (April 7, 2020). The Athletic's 2020 NFL Draft Guide (PDF). The Athletic. p. 197. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Tuls, Jonah (December 6, 2019). "Tuls' Takes: Jeff Gladney is Top-Tier CB Prospect". The Draft Network. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  6. ^ Triebwasser, Melissa (June 14, 2019). "TCU Football's Jalen Reagor, Jeff Gladney named preseason All-Americans". Frogs O War. SB Nation. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  7. ^ Krammer, Andrew (September 12, 2020). "Vikings rookie cornerback Jeff Gladney keeps reaching his goals". Star-Tribune. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Shipley, John (January 9, 2020). "Senior Bowl Preview: Which CBs in Mobile Should the Jaguars Be Interested In?". JaguarMaven. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  9. ^ Davison, Drew (December 13, 2019). "TCU football lands four players on the AP All-Big 12 first team". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Brugler, Dane (January 14, 2020). "2020 NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Patriots and five other teams land a quarterback in two-round projection". The Athletic. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  11. ^ "Jeff Gladney Combine Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  12. ^ White, R.J. (April 23, 2020). "2020 NFL Draft grades: Vikings get a 'B' for selecting Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall". CBS Sports. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  13. ^ Smith, Eric (February 2, 2021). "2020 Vikings Position Recap: Cornerbacks". www.vikings.com. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  14. ^ "Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings – October 18th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  15. ^ "Jeff Gladney 2020 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
  16. ^ "Statement From The Vikings on Jeff Gladney". Vikings.com.
  17. ^ "Jury finds former Minnesota Vikings CB Jeff Gladney not guilty on felony assault charge". espn.com.
  18. ^ Urban, Darren (March 16, 2022). "Chandler Jones Leaves For Las Vegas; Cardinals Add Cornerback". AZCardinals.com.
  19. ^ a b Davidson, Drew; Hill Jr., Clarence E. (May 30, 2022). "Jeff Gladney, former TCU standout and NFL first-round pick, dead at 25". Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  20. ^ "Jalen Reagor Mourns Death of "Right Hand Man" Jeff Gladney".
  21. ^ Arend, Alex. "NFL Cornerback Jeff Gladney Is Reportedly Dead At 25". The Spun. Sports Illustrated.
  22. ^ Lewis, Curt (May 31, 2022). "Friends, family confirm name of woman killed alongside TCU's Jeff Gladney in Dallas crash". www.audacy.com. Retrieved May 31, 2022.