USC star receiver Jordan Addison will not play in the Cotton Bowl against Tulane on Jan. 2 because of an ankle injury, Trojans' coach Lincoln Riley announced Wednesday. The injury is not considered serious or long term, according to ESPN, and shouldn't keep him from being 100% healthy for the upcoming NFL Draft, according to ESPN.
Though he has not officially declared for the 2023 NFL Draft, Addison is not expected to return to USC now that he is draft-eligible. He is ranked the No. 1 wide receiver in CBS Sports' 2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings and a projected first-round draft pick. Addison led USC with 59 catches for 875 yards and eight touchdowns this season in 11 games after transferring from Pittsburgh.
Addison first suffered the injury to his left ankle in the Trojans' 43-42 loss at Utah on Oct. 15 and missed the next two games. Addison played a limited role in his return against Colorado on Nov. 11 before exploding for 11 catches for 178 yards in a Nov. 19 win over UCLA in his second game back.
Addison began his college career at Pittsburgh and was one of the nation's most-productive freshmen in 2020 with 60 catches for 666 yards and four touchdowns before truly breaking out in 2021. As a sophomore, he caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns while winning the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation's top receiver.
His decision to transfer from Pittsburgh to USC sent shockwaves through college football during the offseason, and he quickly helped establish the Trojans as one of the nation's top offensive squads under Riley in his first season.
Addison's draft stock
At 6-foot and 175 pounds, Addison is by no means a big receiver. However, he is fast and sure-handed with a chance to be the first receiver taken in the 2023 NFL Draft. CBS Sports NFL Draft writers Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso each projected in mock drafts this week that Addison will go No. 16 overall to the New England Patriots.
"Bill Belichick doesn't have a great history drafting first-round wideouts," Trapasso wrote. "It's needed now, though. Addison is a slippery, route-running maestro."
Another CBS Sports NFL Draft writer, Josh Edwards, projected Addison to go No. 23 overall to the New York Giants in his latest mock draft.
Impact on USC
When USC landed Addison out of the portal last offseason, it was always understood he could play just one season for the program. The plan worked out as intended, with Addison solidifying his place as one of the best receivers in the country while serving as the top target for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams.
The Trojans have already turned to the portal for help in replacing Addison by landing Arizona transfer Dorian Singer, who caught 66 passes for a Pac-12-best 1,105 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore in 2021.
Five-star receivers Zachariah Branch and Makai Lemon signed with the Trojans on Wednesday. Productive receivers Mario Williams, Tahj Washington and Brenden Rice could also return for the Trojans next season in what could again be one of the nation's top groups at the position in spite of Addison's departure.