USC’s Jordan Addison showed up at the NFL draft on Thursday night in Kansas City, Missouri, wearing a pink suit and bow tie — making his presence impossible to miss just as he did every time he stepped on the field for the Trojans.
Addison only spent one season at USC, transferring in from Pitt after winning the Biletnikoff Award honoring the top pass-catcher in the country in 2021, but he played a major role in one of the most important and successful Trojans seasons in quite a while.
And on Thursday he became the latest in a long line of highly-drafted USC wide receivers, as the Minnesota Vikings selected him No. 23 overall in the first round.
It marks the fourth straight year USC has had a first-round draft pick — the first time that’s happened since 2003-06 — following offensive tackle Austin Jackson (No. 18 overall in 2020), offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker (No. 14 in 2021) and wide receiver Drake London (No. 8 last year).
Addison also extends USC’s impressive draft history as the Trojans and Michigan are the only schools to have a player drafted every year since 1939, while USC has the longest active streak (22 years) with a player drafted in the first three rounds. USC now has 85 first-round picks, which is second only to Ohio State (90 after having three players drafted Thursday). The Trojans’ 520 overall NFL draft picks ranks second only to Notre Dame (522).
As for that rich wide receiver lineage for the Trojans, Addison is the eighth USC WR drafted in the last 11 years, a list that includes Robert Woods (second round in 2013), Marqise Lee (second round in 2014), Nelson Agholor (first round, No. 20 overall in 2015), JuJu Smith-Schuster (second round in 2017), Michael Pittman (second round in 2020), Amon-Ra St. Brown (fourth round in 2021) and London last year. To go back further, Addison is the 19th USC WR drafted since 2000, including the 12th in the first two rounds.
Addison is the ninth USC wide receiver drafted in the first round all-time, joining London (No. 8), Agholor (No. 20), Mike Williams (No. 10 in 2005), R. Jay Soward (No. 29 in 2000), Keyshawn Johnson (1st overall in 1996), Johnnie Morton (21st in 1994), Curtis Conway (7th in 1993), Lynn Swann (21st in 1974).
He was the fourth receiver drafted Thursday night behind during a run of four straight WR picks following Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba (to the Seahawks), TCU’s Quentin Johnston (to the Chargers) and Boston College’s Zay Flowers (to the Ravens).
Originally a three-star prospect out of Frederick, Maryland, in the 2020 recruiting class, Addison put himself firmly on the NFL radar in his breakout Biletnikoff-winning sophomore season at Pitt in 2021 with 100 receptions for 1,593 yards and 7 touchdowns. He was limited to 11 games (really nine full games) at USC due to a mid-season ankle injury and opting out of the bowl game, yet he still put up 59 catches for 875 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Addison was one of many catalysts in USC’s dramatic seven-win turnaround to an 11-3 finish, as the Trojans were on the brink of a College Football Playoff berth before losing to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game.