Why is Jordan Addison transferring from Pitt? Breaking down potential destinations, including USC, Alabama

Pitt wide receiver Jordan Addison, winner of the 2021 Biletnikoff Award — given annually to the top pass-catcher in college football — is mulling a transfer, according to Bruce Feldman of The Athletic.

Feldman indicates that Addison, who caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021, has not yet entered the transfer portal, though further reporting indicates he will ultimately enter the portal.

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Here's everything you need to know about Addison's potential transfer, including reason for leaving Pitt, potential destinations and reason for entering the portal by May 1:

Why is Jordan Addison transferring from Pitt?

ESPN — citing a source close to the situation — reported there's no predetermined destination for Addison and that he could simply elect to remain at Pitt. ESPN's Pete Thamel reported on Saturday that the expectation is for Addison to enter the transfer portal — which would give him more flexibility ahead of the Sunday, May 1 deadline — though a return to Pitt is still a viable option for the 2021 Biletnikoff winner.

The source mentioned in ESPN's story claimed any move by Addison would have nothing to do with an NIL deal, but professional development. To that end, it's worth noting that if Addison remained at Pitt next season, he would be without quarterback Kenny Pickett, who went 20th overall to the Steelers in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Addison would also work with a new offensive coordinator and receivers coach in Frank Cignetti Jr. and Tiquan Underwood, respectively. Former offensive coordinator Mark Whipple resigned before the Panthers' Peach Bowl matchup vs. Michigan State, while receivers coach Brennan Marion took the same position at Texas.

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Where will Jordan Addison transfer?

ESPN reports that Addison is still considering a return to Pitt.

If he were to transfer elsewhere, however, USC is considered among his favored destinations — so much so that Pitt suspects the Trojans of tampering. Indeed, a source close to the situation told ESPN that Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi called first-year USC coach Lincoln Riley several times on Friday to voice his displeasure at the situation.

Riley has already taken 15 transfers since he took over in the offseason, and has said publicly his roster would look significantly different than the one he had following the Trojans' spring practices.

As to why Addison would leave Pitt for USC, he has a relationship with USC transfer quarterback Caleb Williams: Both are from the Washington, D.C. area, though they did not play at the same school. Williams went to Gonzaga College High School in D.C., while Addison went to Tuscarora High School in Frederick, Md. — about an hour away from each other.

A transfer to USC makes sense for Addison inasmuch his professional development is concerned. Williams said as much when he transferred from Oklahoma to follow his coach to Los Angeles.

The Athletic also mentioned Alabama as a potential destination, citing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young and the Crimson Tide's need to replace their top two receivers in Jameson Williams and John Metchie III.

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Why must Jordan Addison enter the portal before May 1?

The NCAA's one-time transfer rule allows for any player to enter the transfer portal and maintain immediate eligibility to play at their next school the following season. It comes with a caveat, however.

Any player who wants to maintain that eligibility must provide a written request to their current school before May 1. If a player does not do that before the deadline, then they will not be eligible to play the next season if they do ultimately transfer.

Why does that matter for Addison? Because the rising junior — considered the No. 10 overall player and No. 2 overall receiver in The Sporting News' 2023 draft big board — would be ineligible to play if he ultimately decided to transfer elsewhere following the May 1 deadline. His only avenue to play in 2022 would require a successful application for a hardship waiver.

By entering the portal before Sunday, Addison provides himself the greatest amount of flexibility. He can still return to Pitt while maintaining his immediate eligibility should he transfer to USC, Alabama or elsewhere. It makes no sense for him to enter the portal following the May 1 deadline; if he did ultimately transfer out of Pitt, he would be ineligible to play in 2022, costing himself significant draft value in a season he would otherwise use to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

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