Jordan Addison talks boost of playing with both Caleb Williams at USC, Kenny Pickett at Pitt

Not often can wide receivers say they caught passes from multiple Heisman finalists during their collegiate career, but Jordan Addison falls into that class. The projected first-round pick played alongside 2021 Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett at Pittsburgh before transferring to USC in 2022, where he teamed up with eventual Heisman winner Caleb Williams. It’s a unique element that Addison is using to sell himself to NFL franchises this spring with the draft nearing.

“I played in two different conferences with two different great quarterbacks under great systems, “Addison told NFL Network when asked why he feels he’s the best receiver in the draft class. “I feel like I did all I could to get my quarterbacks to New York (for the Heisman). … The two are both great quarterbacks, and playing with great quarterbacks made me a lot better, being able to understand their offense and pick their brains a bit. But they both had differences and I was just fortunate enough to have played with both of them.”

Addison won the Biletnikoff Award college football’s top pass-catcher during Pickett’s Heisman finalist season in 2021, catching for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns. Addison followed that up by catching for 875 yards and eight touchdowns with the Trojans in 2022, missing several games due to injury in his lone season in Los Angeles.

Addison’s transfer to USC, however, wasn’t without controversy. Reports of Addison mulling a transfer first broke during the 2022 NFL Draft, and ESPN reported that USC was a likely destination for Addison with NIL incentives at play. The reports also indicated that Pittsburgh suspected tampering on USC’s end — schools cannot recruit players with NIL, let alone contact players at other schools before they enter the portal — and that Panthers head coach Pat Narduzzi called Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley to express displeasure with the situation.

Riley, when asked about Addison’s transfer during Pac-12 media day last Summer, said the Trojans recruited Addison like they did every other transfer.

“I think if you ask people that have been around us, been in the inner workings with us, they know how we go about our business,” Riley said. “When someone challenges that with no facts and just only emotion, yeah, I mean, I think you take it personally. Absolutely you do. I understand this is an emotional time, it’s an emotional game with a lot of emotional people. We recruited Jordan just like we did every other transfer. Jordan got in the transfer portal. Jordan came on a visit to USC. Despite all the negative things that were put out magically by somebody, he’s a kid that’s all about ball.”

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Addison signed with Pittsburgh as a 4-star prospect in the Class of 2019. He ranked as the No. 131 overall prospect in the cycle, regardless of position.