USC made headlines throughout the offseason for its acquisition of big-name transfers, but none came with more controversy than former Pittsburgh wide receiver Jordan Addison. Now, as the reigning Biletnikoff winner prepares for his junior season as a member of the Trojans, he appears set on using the firestorm of the past few months as fuel.
"I definitely feel like I got drug through the mud a little bit with the media," Addison told local reporters in his first meeting with the media since transferring. "But I like being an underdog, and I'm always going to come out on top. So I feel like it's going to be a great story in the end."
Addison's decision to transfer prompted Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi to allegedly place angry phone calls to USC coach Lincoln Riley over alleged tampering, according to ESPN. Then, reports circulated that Addison was unhappy with his name, image and likeness compensation after arriving at USC.
But the 6-foot speedster and potential 2023 first-round NFL Draft pick said there was "just a feeling that I had" about USC that guided him through the chaotic offseason during which his name stayed prevalent in the sport's news cycle.
"It was frustrating, but I wasn't too concerned with it because the truth always comes to light," Addison said. "I know what my focus is and my intent. So all of that is just outside noise."
Addison became one of the sport's breakout stars in 2021 while amassing 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns as he helped lead Pittsburgh to a surprise ACC championship. He decided to transfer right around the May 1 deadline for players to enter the portal and receive immediate eligibility.
"They say it's a business, so sometimes you've got to make decisions for you," Addison said.
His choice of USC came after the Trojans also landed other offensive stars such as Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams and Oregon running back Travis Dye, whom he will team up with in 2022 as the Trojans seek to a quick turnaround in Riley's first season following a 4-8 debacle in 2021.
But even as his old coach made it clear he was displeased with how Addison's departure went down, the star receiver indicated he stayed out of the war of words involving Narduzzi.
"I didn't do any of that. I knew where my focus is and what I'm trying to do for my life, at least in my family," Addison said. "So I didn't think I really needed to go back and talk to them. Whatever they had to say, they can say it. I appreciate them for giving me the opportunity to even play at that prestigious institution, but it's all good now though."
As for what's ahead, Addison said he likes the creativity of USC's offense and credited the team's loaded receiver room with helping his transition to a new program.
"They walked me in and brought me in under their wing," Addison said. "Going to war with each other. We've been outside, out on that field, running sprints, doing what we gotta do to get prepared for the season. I feel like I can stick with them guys."