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How Jordan Addison Became Anchor of Pitt’s High-Octane Aerial Attack

  • The Draft Network
  • November 24, 2021
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With a front-row seat to what has been a season-long soliloquy for Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett, one of the country’s most sure-handed talents has found himself masked in the curtains of the quarterback’s act. Just a sophomore and a recently named Biletnikoff Award finalist, Jordan Addison has long deserved his fair share of the spotlight. 

A patient, yet aggressive boundary talent relatively new to the collegiate scene, Addison carries a lunch-pail attitude to work—Saturday to Saturday—and an inspiring work ethic behind one of the most impressive skill sets in the country. The lone second-year talent to find himself among the final names for the Biletnikoff, an award annually given to the country’s top pass-catcher, his 14-catch, four-touchdown performance last week welcomed flashbacks of Pitt legend Larry Fitzgerald.

A lanky, yet sturdy framed presence on the perimeter, Addison, a former 4-star recruit out of High School in Frederick, Maryland, has shadowed the success of the longtime NFL veteran. The last Panther to win the prestigious award in 2003, Addison’s continued success should see him slot hip-to-hip (from a production standpoint) with Fitzgerald when things are all set and done this fall for the nationally-ranked Panthers.

A glider in space, watching Addison’s film is similar to that of having a front-row seat to one of the world’s greatest creative artists. His footwork is like a paintbrush sliding across a blank canvas at a comfortable, yet assertive tempo—quick to switch direction. His hands; aggressive, trustworthy, never out of place with a magnet-like draw. As impactful as they come in the college game, at just 19 years old, Addison’s uniqueness on the outside has remained paramount as Pitt continues their quest for an ACC title.

With 1,272 receiving yards in 11 games, Addison is the fourth-most prolific receiver in the nation in terms of yardage amassed through the air. And with 15 touchdowns, there’s been no one better. A prospect who’s received little buzz until just a few weeks ago due to the pure lack of high-profile team success (Clemson) within the ACC this season, Addison’s newfound recognition among the country’s elite has been fuel to his fire, but his “jobs not finished” approach has kept his nose on the grindstone with the award still up for grabs.

“As a kid and playing receiver at this level, that’s what every kid’s dream is,” Addison said of his Biletnikoff recognition. “For me to be mentioned with the rest of the receivers on that list (Purdue’s David Bell/Alabama’s Jameson Williams) means a lot..but the job’s not finished. I’ve gotta keep working and, you know, I have to do a lot more to help the team win. Right now, I’m not really focused on the award, I’m just trying to get this win this week coming up.”

A season in which Pat Narduzzi’s unit has enjoyed its first nine-plus win campaign in over a decade, the relationship of Addison and Pickett has seen one of the country’s premier tandems form before our eyes.

“It’s awesome to see the work and the transformation,” Pickett said of his second-year wideout. “I was able to be a part of the whole ride… It’s been an honor to play next to him, and I hope we can go get it [ACC title] for him.”

A program still in search of its first-ever conference title, and while it’s shown massive improvements the last few seasons in recruiting and consistency in the win column each fall, its successes have been capped due to a subpar competitive makeup against some of the conference's bluebloods. While Narduzzi looks to extinguish the demons of a 2018 ACC title game loss to the Trevor Lawrence-led Tigers, the time is now for Pitt to take a step, a program-altering leap behind Addison, the anchor of their high-octane aerial attack.

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