The most prolific performer to enter the NCAA transfer portal this offseason has found a destination.
— Jordan Addison (@Espn_Jordan) May 19, 2022
Addison visited USC officially over the past weekend and will reunite with star sophomore quarterback, Caleb Williams, as both hail from the Washington D.C. area. Addison’s decision to go to USC gives coach Lincoln Riley the two most important transfer additions of the offseason, as both Addison and Williams were arguably the most coveted players to enter the portal.
Addison earned first-team All-American honors at Pittsburgh last season and won the Biletnikoff Award for the country’s most outstanding receiver. He entered the NCAA transfer portal on May 3 and took visits to both USC and Texas. He considered staying at Pitt and also contemplated both Alabama and Oregon, but didn’t end up visiting either school.
Addison’s move out West is a blow to Pittsburgh, as the defending ACC champion lost its best returning player after going 11-3 last season. USC went 4-8 and has rebuilt its roster so significantly in Riley’s first year that a majority of the starters next season are expected to come from the NCAA transfer portal.
Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi had multiple contentious phone calls with Riley soon after Addison broached entering the portal, sources told ESPN earlier in the month. There’s been no known evidence of tampering that’s emerged, however.
The transfer of Addison has been viewed as a beacon of an offseason filled with change. The notion of an established underclassman roster jumping programs wasn’t something that happened in college football until recently. Thanks to a flurry of rule changes — most notably one-time transfer rules — fluid player movement has become part of the sport’s landscape.
While Williams’ transfer was viewed as a collision of one-time transfer and name, image and likeness rules, it was viewed through a different prism because his college coach at Oklahoma, Riley, left for USC and he followed him. Addison’s transfer to USC reinforced the reality that all rosters are fluid and the sport’s biggest stars can jump from program to program with relative ease.
Sources made clear to ESPN throughout Addison’s decision-making process that his professional future was going to lead his decision-making.
The addition of Addison gives USC one of the country’s best wide receiver duos, as he’ll join Oklahoma transfer Mario Williams there. Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. He projects as a first-round NFL draft pick in 2023, but at just 6-foot and 175 pounds he’s unlikely to crack the top 10.
Addison will join another of the country’s top transfers, Mario Williams, who earned ESPN True Freshman All-American honors last year. Williams caught 35 balls for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Brenden Rice, the son of NFL legend Jerry Rice, also transferred in from Colorado, where he averaged 14.2 yards per catch last season.
Addison’s transfer further reinforces the optimism behind Riley’s hire at USC, as the lure of the prolific offenses he built and called at Oklahoma have moved their way over to Los Angeles. While USC’s offensive line has questions and the defense was one of the worst in the conference last season, there are key pieces that have transferred in to rejuvenate the Trojans on the offensive side of the ball.