Pitt head coach reportedly confronted Lincoln Riley over suspected tampering
On Friday night, news broke that Pittsburgh wideout and 2021 Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison was strongly considering transferring away from the Pitt program after two seasons. He was immediately linked to USC along with reports that suggested he’d receive a significant NIL package from the Trojans if he did indeed transfer.
At the time the news broke, however, Addison hadn’t actually entered his name into the transfer portal and there has been no such public announcement from him at the time of this publication.
But, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi called USC head coach Lincoln Riley multiple times on Friday to “express his displeasure” over the situation. Thamel also reported that Pitt officials suspect tampering has occurred.
On Saturday, Thamel reported that Addison is still expected to enter the transfer portal, but that a return to Pitt could still happen.
Pittsburgh All-American Jordan Addison, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the country's top wide receiver in 2021, is considering transferring to USC.@PeteThamel gives the latest on what this means ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/uLjlPovoXC
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) April 30, 2022
Addison finished fourth among all FBS wideouts last season with 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns on 100 receptions. He was tied for the FBS lead in touchdown receptions and finished with eight 100-yard games, the second-best season by a Panther wideout in program history.
So far this offseason, USC has added transfer wideouts in Terrell Bynum (Washington), Brenden Rice (Colorado), and Mario Williams (Oklahoma) to a room that includes Gary Bryant Jr. and Tahj Washington. It has also earned transfer commitments from Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams and Oregon running back Travis Dye as Riley sought to remake the Trojan offense in short order.
The deadline to enter the transfer portal and still be immediately eligible to play in 2022 without a waiver is Sunday, May 1. Addison is expected to be one of college football’s best playmakers next season and one of the top wideouts for the 2023 NFL Draft. Should he depart, Pitt would have seen exits from its offensive coordinator, quarterback, and leading wideout that helped lead the Panthers to an ACC title.
Earlier this month, Riley voiced displeasure with the fact NIL-related opportunities have begun to be leveraged in recruiting situations, something he said everyone knew was going to happen but nevertheless is “not good for the game.”
“College football is such a great thing and that’s certainly not what anybody’s after,” he said. “I think we’ve got enough people out there where we can figure out a better, smoother path that can separate the two.
“Again, fully supportive of guys being able to make money off their Name, Image, and Likeness. Fully supportive of that, no matter where they’re at, but it should not be a part of recruiting. They out to know what opportunities are there that the current players are getting, sure, absolutely. You want to know that. But these promises that are made when guys are in high school, man, it’s just not good for the game. So, hopefully we can find some ways to address it and keep the two separate.”
One additional note in Thamel’s reporting that’s worth mentioning is that Addison, a native of Frederick, Maryland, has a pre-existing relationship with Caleb Williams. Both players are from the DMV area, and players reaching out to one another to discuss playing together isn’t tampering on its own.