Reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison announces transfer to USC
Lincoln Riley has made it clear on numerous occasions that he came to USC to win big — as soon as possible.
He’s declined any opportunity to temper expectations for his first season with the Trojans, even while also being rather candid that he needed to overhaul the roster he inherited in order to compete at the level he’s been accustomed to over his career.
And so he continues what has been a dramatic roster reconstruction and influx of talent while feeding those top-end expectations many USC fans have already embraced.
After earlier in this process adding a transfer quarterback in Caleb Williams, who is already a top Heisman Trophy candidate, per the oddsmakers, Riley has now landed the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner in Pitt wide receiver transfer Jordan Addison.
Weeks after Addison’s decision to enter the transfer portal and consider a move away from Pitt made national headlines, he made it official Thursday — he’s the latest star to hop aboard what Riley is building in Los Angeles.
Addison had 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore for Pitt last season, but his QB Kenny Pickett was taken in the first round of the NFL draft last month, his offensive coordinator Mark Whipple left for Nebraska and his WRs coach Brennan Marion left for Texas.
Addison was reportedly deciding between USC, Texas and Alabama. He visited Texas and checked out the Trojans last weekend.
Addison is the 19th overall incoming transfer for USC since Riley was hired — and the sixth since the end of spring practice.
Addison is the fourth WR transfer, following Terrell Bynum (Washington), Mario Williams (Oklahoma) and Brenden Rice (Colorado), who all arrived before the spring.
USC’s offense is absolutely loaded now at the skill positions, with Caleb Williams coming in as an established star QB who led Riley’s offense last year as a freshman at Oklahoma. He’s presently third in most of the early Heisman odds.
Mario Williams, the fellow former Sooner, was a five-star prospect and the No. 2 WR (No. 16 overall prospect) in the 2021 recruiting class who came out of the spring looking like USC’s No. 1 wideout. Now the Trojans arguably have two elite No. 1s, with Bynum, Rice, returning WR Gary Bryant Jr. (44 catches, 579 yards and 7 TDs) last season all competing for spots in that passing game pecking order. Bryant was injured most of the spring so it was hard to gauge where he fit in amongst that group.
Then there is redshirt junior Kyle Ford, second-year WRs Kyron Ware-Hudson (a spring standout), Michael Jackson III, redshirt junior Tahj Washington, top-100 freshman CJ Williams, and veteran John Jackson III all somewhere on that depth chart.
Riley has said USC could use as many as eight receivers in a game, though that is yet to be seen.
Addison, meanwhile, was an underrated three-star prospect out of Frederick, Md., in the 2020 recruiting class. He had 60 catches for 666 yards and 4 TDs as a freshman before his breakout last season (in which he also tacked on a rushing TD to his award-winning receiving stats).
Beyond the passing game, the Trojans have a loaded backfield with Oregon transfer Travis Dye (3,980 career rushing/receiving yards), Stanford transfer Austin Jones, returning redshirt junior Darwin Barlow and five-star freshman all-purpose back Raleek Brown, who may be more a receiver than ball-carrier to start out.
Add in tight ends Jude Wolfe, Malcolm Epps, Lake McRee and others, and there’s no question about the abundance of playmakers.
Virginia transfer Bobby Haskins and recent JUCO addition Cooper Lovelace were brought in to bolster the offensive line.
Given all that talent and Riley’s ample track record of success, it seems a safe bet this Trojans offense will be one of the most entertaining in the country.
As for the defense? Well, given that Riley pledged to bring in double-digit transfers again after spring, it seems likely that will be his focus with the remaining spots.