USC has landed a monumental commitment from former Pitt wide receiver Jordan Addison, the junior announced Thursday. Addison, a 2021 All-American and reigning Biletnikoff Award winner, chose the Trojans over strong pitches from Texas and Alabama, along with an opportunity to return to the Panthers, a little more than two weeks after entering the portal.
Addison is a game-changing addition for coach Lincoln Riley’s debut campaign at USC. A native of Frederick, Maryland, Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns during a breakout sophomore season that culminated in Pitt’s first ACC championship. Addison’s effort was so impressive that he even helped Panthers quarterback Kenny Picket earn a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist (and, later, a first-round selection in the NFL Draft).
The Trojans were the favorite to land Addison from the beginning after pulling together the nation’s No. 1 transfer class. Riley brought quarterback Caleb Williams and receiver Mario Williams with him from Oklahoma, plus running back Travis Dye (Oregon), receiver Brenden Rice (Colorado) and offensive tackle Bobby Haskins (Virginia), among others. However, Addison makes a legitimate case as the top transfer in the nation — if not one of the top transfers in recent memory. Along with Williams, Addison should help create one of the most dynamic offenses in college football in 2022.
Here are key takeaways from Addison’s decision to join Riley’s offense in Los Angeles.
A perfect fit
Addison played at Tuscarora High School, just one hour away from Williams at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C. The pair had several common offers during their transfer portal visits, and they reportedly kept in touch while Addison went through his transfer process.
Now, the pair is suiting up to play for one of the greatest offensive minds in college football. Riley produced two Heisman-winning quarterbacks and three finalists during his five-year run as Oklahoma’s coach. Receivers have also benefitted from Riley’s development, with stars like CeeDee Lamb coming through the Sooners program before going on to succeed in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
With Williams and Addison on board, USC is poised to have one of college football’s most talented offenses. Even more than Pitt, the Trojans should give Addison an opportunity to show off his talents.
A huge blow to Pitt
It’s not just Addison who’s shaking things up, as the Panthers have gone through a massive period of change over the offseason. Quarterback Kedon Slovis transferred in from USC to replace Pickett; offensive coordinator Mark Whipple left for Nebraska and was replaced by Boston College’s Frank Cignetti Jr.; and wide receivers coach Brennan Marion, a rising star in the industry, left for Texas.
Addison flourished during his two years at Pitt, clearing 2,000 yards receiving and trailing only Larry Fitzgerald for the program’s single-season receiving record. However, this wasn’t going to be the offense Pitt rode to an ACC championship. While Addison could have eased the transition for Slovis and the new staff, the Panthers now start from square one.
No time off
The pressure to perform has never been more palpable for high-profile coaches, but thanks to the transfer portal, Riley has completely transformed his roster in one offseason.
Caleb Williams, Mario Williams and Addison make for one of the most dynamic passing attacks in the country from Day 1. Dye rushed for nearly 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns for an Oregon squad that made the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Trojans also added 10 defensive transfers to try to quickly fill holes.
Historically, rebuilds go through a three-year process: assess, develop and compete. With the transfer portal, Riley has quickly brought expectations to compete for College Football Playoff spots — and more — in time for his first game on campus. All eyes will be on Los Angeles when the season starts on Sept. 3 against Rice.