Jordan Addison I first saw the news on social media.
Not only did the potential transfer of current award winner Biletnikoff blew up online, it also sparked additional controversy. ESPN reported April 29 this Addison treated USC as a destination before the official entrance to the portal. Pittsburgh officials screamed “fake”.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi put up multiples frustrated calls to Lincoln Riley from USC. Critics wondered if Addison was being sold for deals in names, images, and likenesses.
Three months and one new school later, Addison, dressed in a freshly pressed USC jersey, gave a simple answer.
“Just some bullshit,” Addison said Thursday, meeting with local media for the first time since moving to USC. “But I mean the truth will always come out, so I’m just sure that I’ll keep working and be ready for the season.”
“I didn’t come here because of the lights, the camera, the action and all that. I just wanted to make sure they know that I’m purely in business.”
— Jordan Addison
The 6-foot junior scored 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in a school-record 100 catches last season, earning the Biletnikoff Award, given to the most outstanding receiver in the country.
Such a proven talent rarely appears on the transfer portal, which adds suspicion to Addison’s decision. But it all came down to a simple gut feeling, Addison said.
While many critics focused on rumors of NIL’s multi-million dollar opportunity, Addison contacted the USC coaching staff during his recruiting visit during a lengthy shoot. Addison and Riley spent so much time talking about football that they missed out on extraneous hiring rituals like gourmet meals or scheduled entertainment.
“I didn’t come here for the lights and the camera and the action and all that stuff,” Addison said. “I just wanted to make sure they know that I’m purely in business.”
Addison said he didn’t feel the need to reach out to Narduzzi to answer the allegations, but added that he was grateful that the staff allowed him to start his college career at Pitt. When asked if he was disappointed that the rumors were the last, sour note of his successful Pitt career, Addison shrugged.
“They say it’s a business,” he said, “so sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself.”
Outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons said he was concerned the controversy would cause friction in the USC program. Simmons said that when the reports came out, he called every player in his position room and explained that he hadn’t talked to Addison yet and wasn’t sure if the main avenue was moving into USC.
“When you attack someone’s character and integrity, especially if you’re supposed to be a mentor or guardian, of course you get offended,” Simmons said. “I try not to think about his past with him from that point of view, just because at the moment, what good will come of it? I don’t know his previous head coach, I don’t have a relationship with him. He’s here now and I just let him know how we feel about him.”
USC teammates couldn’t hide their excitement over the top wide receiver who burned the field during summer drills and practices. Running back Travis Dye joked that he saw smoke coming from Addison’s shoes when the players were sprinting and Addison’s speed was close to 23 mph.
“Jordan Addison is a wonder of nature,” said Dai, who was translated from Oregon. “This man can run like a gazelle, no one needs his hands. I always compare him to Calvin Ridley because he has that kind of running style and his haircut is super smooth.”
Addison showed up to a USC media day event on campus wearing a #1 baseball cap. 3 jersey, the same number he wore in Pitt. The jersey was retired at USC in honor of quarterback Carson Palmer, but the Heisman winner gave Addison his blessing to use the number he had worn since high school.
According to Addison, talking on the phone with Palmer was nervous, but he quickly noted that he appreciated the gesture.
“I just want to make sure he knows he called the right person’s number,” Addison said.
Staff Writer J. Brady McCollough contributed to this report.