USC’s Lincoln Riley rebukes tampering allegations, takes suggestions ‘personally’

USC’s Lincoln Riley rebukes tampering allegations, takes suggestions ‘personally’

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USC football coach Lincoln Riley offered an impassioned defense of his recruiting tactics following the suggestion from Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi that he may have tampered when wide receiver Jordan Addison transferred to the Trojans.

Addison, an All-American and Fred Biletnikoff Award winner in his sophomore season at Pittsburgh, transferred to USC in May. Pittsburgh suspected USC may have been tampering ahead of the star wide receiver’s transfer.

At Pac-12 media days last week, Riley defended himself.

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Jordan Addison, #3 of the Pittsburgh Panthers, makes a catch against the Michigan State Spartans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Jordan Addison, #3 of the Pittsburgh Panthers, makes a catch against the Michigan State Spartans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Adam Hagy/Getty Images)

“When someone challenges that with no facts and only emotion, do you take it personally? Absolutely you do,” Riley said, via the Los Angeles Times. “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.”

Narduzzi called Riley to express his displeasure of the idea Addison would commit to the school when it was rumored as a potential destination, ESPN reported.

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Southern California coach Lincoln Riley speaks during the Pac-12 Conference NCAA college football media day Friday, July 29, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Southern California coach Lincoln Riley speaks during the Pac-12 Conference NCAA college football media day Friday, July 29, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Addison visited USC and Texas during his time in the transfer portal.

“All he wanted to do his entire visit was talk ball. 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,” Riley added.

He had 100 catches for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns with Kenny Pickett as his quarterback. 

Name, image and likeness (NIL) deals were also rumored to be one of the reasons why Addison bolted for the West Coast. New USC quarterback Caleb Williams denied the receiver joining USC was about money, and instead it was about winning football games.

Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi answers a question at the NCAA college football Atlantic Coast Conference Media Days in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi answers a question at the NCAA college football Atlantic Coast Conference Media Days in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

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Riley joined USC ahead of the 2022 season after being with Oklahoma for four years. Riley led Oklahoma to three College Football Playoff appearances. He was 55-10 in those four seasons.

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