Sports

USC’s Jordan Addison responds to Pitt’s tampering accusations

Jordan Addison first saw the news on social media.

The potential transfer of the reigning Biletnikoff Prize winner had not only exploded online but also brought additional controversy. ESPN reported on April 29 that Addison was considering USC as a target before officially entering the portal. Pittsburgh officials shouted “manipulation.”

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi made multiple calls to USC’s Lincoln Riley in frustration. Critics wondered if Addison sold out over name, image, and likeness deals.

Three months and a new school later, Addison, wearing a freshly pressed USC jersey, had a simple answer.

“Just a little bit of BS,” Addison said Thursday, meeting with local media for the first time since joining USC. “But I mean, the truth will always come out, so I make sure I just keep working and I’m ready for the season.”

After the controversial journey through the transfer portal, Addison will finally get to work with the Trojans when Riley opens his 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 didn’t come here for all the lights, the camera, the action and all that. I just wanted to make sure they know I’m strictly business.”

—Jordan Addison

The 6-foot junior had 1,593 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns on a school-record 100 catches last season and was awarded the Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation’s most outstanding receiver.

Such proven talent rarely enters the transfer portal, which adds another layer of suspicion to Addison’s decision. But it came down to a simple gut feeling, Addison said.

While many critics focused on the rumors of multimillion-dollar NIL opportunities, Addison bonded with USC coaching staff during lengthy film sessions during his recruiting visit. Addison and Riley spent so much time talking about football that they skipped unnecessary recruiting rituals like missed meals or planned entertainment.

“I didn’t come here for all the lights, the camera, the action and all of that,” Addison said. “I just wanted to make sure they know I’m strictly business.”

Addison said he had no need to contact Narduzzi to address the allegations, but added he was grateful the staff allowed him to start his college career in Pitt. When asked if he was disappointed that the speculation was a final, bitter note on his successful Pitt career, Addison shrugged.

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

Outside wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons said he was concerned the controversy would cause friction in the USC program. Simmons said when the reports surfaced, he called every player in his position room and said he hadn’t spoken to Addison yet and wasn’t sure if the top prospect would be moving to USC.

“Of course, if you attack someone’s character and integrity, especially if you’re supposed to be a mentor or caregiver, you’re hurt,” Simmons said. “I’m really trying not to talk to him about his past from that point of view just because at this point something good is going to come of it? I don’t know his former head coach, have no relationship with him. He’s here now and I just told him how we felt about him.”

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison speaks to reporters at media day on Thursday.

USC wide receiver Jordan Addison speaks to reporters at media day on Thursday.

(Wesley Lapointe/Los Angeles Times)

USC teammates couldn’t hide their excitement at the top receiver who scorched the field during summer conditioning and player-performed drills. Running back Travis Dye joked he saw smoke coming from Addison’s shoes as the players ran sprints and Addison was clocked nearly 23 mph.

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

Addison entered USC’s on-campus media day event wearing a #3 jersey, the same number he wore to Pitt. The jersey was retired at USC in honor of quarterback Carson Palmer, but the Heisman winner gave Addison his blessing to wear the number he’s worn since high school.

Talking to Palmer on the phone was nerve-wracking, Addison said, but he quickly noted his appreciation for the gesture.

“I’m just going to make sure he knows he gave the right person the number,” Addison said.

Staff author J. Brady McCollough contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/usc/story/2022-08-04/jordan-addison-usc-football-tampering-accusations-pitt USC’s Jordan Addison responds to Pitt’s tampering accusations

Emma Bowman

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