- Pittsburgh Panthers star receiver Jordan Addison is flying high after winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award
- Addison, a second-year receiver from Maryland, hauled in 93 catches for 1,479 yards and 17 touchdowns in Pitt’s first 13 games.
- During a recent interview with Sportscasting, the electric receiver opened up about his historic 2021 season
The college football world loves a receiver, whether it’s Marshall legend Randy Moss or former LSU stars Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, who consistently terrorizes defenses and is in the endzone so frequently that he can almost afford to live there.
If football fans appreciated Moss or Chase, then they’ll want to spend as much time as possible watching Jordan Addison, a second-year receiver at the University of Pittsburgh and the 2021 recipient of the Fred Biletnikoff Award.
Jordan Addison has dominated the ACC since arriving at Pitt in 2020
Nothing stopped Addison as a true freshman, not even the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the 2020 season. The 6-foot, 175-pound receiver hauled in 60 catches for 666 yards and four touchdowns across 10 games last year.
If not for Notre Dame spending last season in the ACC, Addison may very well have won the conference’s Rookie of the Year Award. Fighting Irish running back Kyren Williams — who was credited with action in two games in 2019 but still had RoY eligibility after redshirting — ran for 1,125 yards and 13 touchdowns in 12 games.
There would be no runner-up status for Addison in 2021. The consensus All-American entered No. 13 Pitt’s Dec. 30 Peach Bowl matchup against No. 11 Michigan State with 93 catches, 1,479 yards, and a staggering 17 touchdowns in 2021. He also scored a rushing touchdown in a Nov. 6 victory over Duke.
On Dec. 9, days after Pitt won its first ACC title, Addison won the Biletnikoff Award, an honor given to the country’s top receiver. Voters (disclaimer: I am a Biletnikoff Award voter) selected Addison over Alabama’s Jameson Williams and Purdue’s David Bell.
“It hit me as soon as they called my name for it because I already knew [all] the people who had won it because this was a goal that I was chasing,” Addison told Sportscasting.
Addison and veteran quarterback Kenny Pickett, a Heisman Trophy finalist, formed one of the country’s top receiver-quarterback duos. Pickett, who will not play in the bowl game and is a projected first-round draft pick, completed 67.2% of his passes for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and seven interceptions this season.
Addison said he didn’t need long to realize Pitt’s offense, which entered the Peach Bowl averaging 43 points per game, was destined for a stellar 2021 campaign.
“I think summer camp was when we really started to notice that we started scoring a lot of points going up against our defense,” Addison explained. “That wasn’t something that would usually happen; we had won our first scrimmages on offense against the defense. So, I knew that we were in for something special. “
Addison’s Biletnikoff victory ensured he and Pitt would make college football history
Entering the 2021 season, only two schools, Alabama and Oklahoma State, had three separate players who’d won the Biletnikoff Award. Addison ensured Pittsburgh made that a three-team club.
Addison followed Antonio Bryant (2000) and Larry Fitzgerald (2003) as Pitt receivers who won the Biletnikoff. Bryant, who played for four NFL teams from 2002-09, followed Moss as the second sophomore to capture the award. He hauled in 68 catches for 1,302 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games during the 2000 campaign.
Three years later, Fitzgerald ended his college career with a 92-catch, 1,672-yard, 22-touchdown redshirt sophomore season. The Arizona Cardinals wisely used the third overall pick in the 2004 draft on the 6-foot-3 receiver, who still trails only Jerry Rice in receptions and receiving yards.
Amari Cooper (2014), Jerry Jeudy (2018), and DeVonta Smith (2020) all won the Biletnikoff while at Alabama. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon captured the award in 2010 and 2011 before Brandin Cooks (2013) and James Washington (2017) followed in his footsteps.
Recent winners of the Biletnikoff Award include Alabama’s DeVonta Smith (2020), Chase (2019), and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy (2018. Moss (1997) and Calvin Johnson (2006) are the only two winners who, as of December 2021, are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Addison is keeping things simple when it comes to his 2022 goals
Although Pickett won’t be at Pitt next year, Addison should be catching touchdowns from another experienced Power 5 star. Southern California’s Kedon Slovis, who completed 68.4% of his passes for 7,576 yards, 58 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions from 2019-21, announced earlier this month he will play at Pitt in 2022.
Eligibility rules prevent Addison from entering the 2022 NFL Draft alongside Pickett. He intends on returning to Pitt next year and helping the Panthers repeat as ACC champions.
In fact, Addison already knows what his primary goal for 2022 is, and it’s a simple one.
“Get into the College Football Playoffs,” Addison said.
Considering how Addison fared in his most recent mission, the University of Pittsburgh may want to start planning a championship parade for January 2023.