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Jordan Addison USC Riley

Under Lincoln Riley, is USC Back?

  • Ryan Fowler
  • May 23, 2022
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The transfer of Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, presented annually to college football’s top wideout, to the warm shores of Los Angeles means one thing: USC is back. 

A premier draft prospect with an uncapped performance ceiling, he, quarterback Caleb Williams and pass-catcher Mario Williams form a trio unseen in the red and gold in decades. You can’t tell the story of college football without mentioning the USC Trojans and their nine national championships and six Heisman Trophy winners. The collegiate scene is better when the Trojans are at their best, and boy have they boosted their arsenal this offseason. 

With former Oklahoma Head Coach Lincoln Riley now in charge, the transfers of the two Williams’ initially offered USC two fresh, exciting young athletes with five-star prestige on the offensive side of the football. A program that has failed to reach double digit wins since 2017, their additions were welcomed with open arms as two core weapons. Then came the transfer of Addison, who Riley was able to pry from the likes of Alabama and Texas, to headline a group of 14 players that have transferred into the program since Riley put pen to paper in November. 

Like Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba and LSU’s Kayshon Boutte, two of the country’s elite perimeter threats, Addison checks every box imaginable for NFL teams already. But projecting him this fall, within THIS offense, opens up a whole new portion of the playbook for Riley. 

Riley is a known quarterback whisperer of sorts who has produced two Heisman winners and three finalists for the award during his five-year tenure with the Sooners.  A native of Frederick, Maryland, while Addison lit up the prep circuit at Tuscarora High School, just an hour south Williams became the face of high school football in the DMV (D.C/Maryland/Virginia) area at Gonzaga High. While the two never played with each other in any all-star events, or faced off during their prep careers, they both held similar offers from schools across the country, and routinely stayed in touch during official visits and the treacherous recruiting cycle. 

But now, as both players have begun to settle into their new home in Los Angeles, the expectations and lofty ideals from many both inside and outside the walls of the Trojans’ facility will cast an ever-growing spotlight on an offense that could challenge for the best the nation has to offer this fall. Addison totaled 1,593 receiving yards last year working in tandem with Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Kenny Pickett, making him as dominant as any downfield target in college football. It didn’t matter the coverage, route, the ability of the man (or men) that were tasked with limiting the six-foot target-hog, Addison excellent.And what makes Addison’s potential numbers this fall so scary are the faces that Riley will cast around his main character. 

A 1,300 yard rusher at Oregon last fall – with 16 touchdowns – Travis Dye will force teams to stay home in defending against the pass. Play soft with a six-man box? Hand it to Dye who can churn up yards in chunks with proven experience as a four-year starter for the Ducks. Opt to limit him on the ground? Well, you’re playing with fire with Addison and Mario Williams on the outside who plays with a ton of Elijah Moore vibes to his game. Dye has gone overlooked with both Williams’, and Addison in the building, but could help the Trojans evolve into a pick-your-poison offense.

Addison is a potential Heisman candidate this fall and adding a bona fide game-changer to a roster that enjoyed a complete overhaul these last few months could very easily see USC challenge for a spot in the College Football Playoff come winter. While there remains room to grow on the defensive side of the football under Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch with a ton of fresh faces as well, expect Riley to quickly lead the program up the polls,and introduce his extravagant array of talent early and often in his debut campaign. 


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Ryan Fowler