Sports · August 5, 2022

Jordan Addison of USC responds to Pitt’s tampering allegations

Jordan Addison first saw the news on social media.

Not only did the potential transfer of the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner explode online, it also came with an additional scoop of controversy. ESPN reported on April 29 that Addison was considering USC as a destination before officially joining the portal. Pittsburgh officials shouted “tamper”.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi made multiple frustrated calls to USC’s Lincoln Riley. Critics wondered if Addison was running out of agreements on name, image and likeness.

Three months and a new school later, Addison, sporting a freshly ironed USC shirt, had a simple answer.

“Just a few BS,” 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 just make sure I keep working and be ready for the season.”

After the controversial journey through the relocation portal, Addison will finally get to work with the Trojans as Riley opens her first fall camp on Friday.

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison answers questions during USC media day Thursday.

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison answers questions during USC media day Thursday.

(Wesley Lapointe / Los Angeles Times)

“I wasn’t coming here for all the lights, the camera, the action and everything. I just wanted to make sure they knew I was strictly business. “

—Jordan Addison

The 6-foot junior had 1,593 yards in reception and 17 touchdowns on a school record of 100 catches last season, earning the Biletnikoff Award in honor of the nation’s most outstanding receiver.

Such a proven talent rarely enters the transfer portal, adding another layer of suspicion to Addison’s decision. But it was just a gut feeling, Addison said.

While many critics have focused on rumors of NIL’s multimillion-dollar opportunity, Addison was connecting with USC technical staff during her recruiting visit during lengthy film sessions. Addison and Riley have spent so much time talking about football that they have skipped outsider recruiting rituals like extravagant meals or scheduled entertainment.

“I wasn’t coming here for all the lights, the camera, the action and everything,” Addison said. “I just wanted to make sure they knew I was strictly business.”

Addison said he didn’t feel the need to contact Narduzzi to deal with the allegations, but added that he was grateful that the staff allowed him to start his undergraduate career at Pitt. When asked if he was disappointed that speculation was a sour last note of his accomplished career at Pitt, Addison shrugged.

“They say it’s a deal,” he said, “so sometimes you have to make decisions for yourself.”

Wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons said he was concerned that the controversy would cause friction in the USC program. Simmons said that when the reports surfaced, he called all the players in his room and explained that he hadn’t spoken to Addison yet and wasn’t sure if the best prospect would move to USC.

“When you attack someone’s character and integrity, especially when you are supposedly a mentor or caregiver, you are obviously hurt,” Simmons said. “I really try not to insist on his past with him, from that point of view, just because what good will come of it at this point? I don’t know his previous manager, I don’t have a relationship with him. He’s here now and I just let him know how we feel about him. “

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison talks to reporters on Thursday's media day.

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison talks to reporters on Thursday’s media day.

(Wesley Lapointe / Los Angeles Times)

USC teammates couldn’t hide their excitement for the best receiver who burned the pitch during summer conditioning and players’ running practices. Running back Travis Dye joked that he saw smoke coming out of Addison’s shoes when players were sprinting and Addison was measured near 23 mph.

“Jordan Addison is a freak of nature,” said Dye, a relocation from Oregon. “That man can run like a gazelle, he has hands like it’s nobody’s business. I always compare him to Calvin Ridley because he has that kind of running style and his cuts are just super smooth.

Addison attended USC’s media day event on campus wearing a no. 3 shirt, the same number he wore at Pitt. The shirt was retired at USC in honor of quarterback Carson Palmer, but the Heisman winner gave Addison his blessing for showing off the number he had been wearing since high school.

Talking on the phone with Palmer was unnerving, Addison said, but she quickly noticed his appreciation for the gesture.

“I’ll just make sure he knows he put the number on the right person,” Addison said.

Staff writer J Brady McCollough contributed to this report.