Three months after a fellow coach accused him of tampering with the highest wideout in school soccer, Lincoln Riley lastly acquired the prospect to publicly defend himself towards these allegations Friday.
In his first Pac-12 media day as USC’s coach, Riley wrote off allegations that the Trojans tampered with Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, providing an impassioned protection of his personal integrity when requested about claims levied by Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi final April.
“When someone challenges that with no facts and only emotion, do you take it personally? Absolutely you do,” Riley mentioned. “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.”
An ESPN report claimed Narduzzi known as Riley a number of instances in late April to precise his displeasure with the coach, whom he believed was recruiting Addison to hitch USC earlier than the wideout formally entered the NCAA switch portal Might 3.
The accusations adopted Addison, amid swirling rumors about multimillion-dollar NIL offers awaiting the wideout at USC. Addison visited each Texas and USC and dedicated to the Trojans on Might 19, as many anticipated.
“All he wanted to do his entire visit was talk ball,” Riley mentioned. “We literally missed several of the meals and entertainment we had scheduled just so we could watch more film and talk more ball. That’s all he’s about. I think he’s been really, really misrepresented throughout this whole thing.”
Many suspected his arrival got here with a promised payday hooked up. However USC quarterback Caleb Williams, one other switch whose arrival impressed his personal share of untamed NIL rumors, joined his coach Friday in fervently denying that was the case with Addison, with whom he already had a relationship by advantage of their upbringing within the D.C. space.
The 2 even joked about Addison’s rumored $3 million payday.
“It wasn’t about NIL for Jordan,” Williams mentioned. “That was one of the biggest things. People thought it was about NIL. Guys on the inside knew that it wasn’t. Jordan wants to win. Jordan wants to be the best receiver — no offense to any other school.”
Williams did acknowledge being in Addison’s ear all through the method, attempting to persuade him to hitch USC.
He wasn’t the one one.
“It was like 15 of my teammates that I had text Jordan,” Williams mentioned. “I was like, ‘Guys we’re going to need him to go win some big games.’ That’s how important Jordan was.”
Vital sufficient to warrant a reference from Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff, who refused to say any USC gamers by identify however pointed to the arrival of faculty soccer’s prime receiver as an indication of vitality for the convention.
That arrival stirred extra controversy than confidence throughout the spring. However as USC seems forward, it’s already clear how a lot of an affect Addison may make on a wholly rebuilt Trojans offense.
Williams known as him “the fastest receiver on the team.” Riley known as him “a proven playmaker.”
Linebacker Shane Lee had much more effusive reward.
“I’ve been around great receivers,” Lee mentioned. “He’s great.”