PITTSBURGH — Jordan Addison is not your typical freshman.
Anyone that has seen what the Pitt wide receiver has done through two games with the Panthers in the early part of the 2020 season has probably figured that out.
But the Panthers themselves figured that out a long time, and that’s why Addison has been such an obviously big part of the offense so far.
Addison joined the Panthers in January as an early enrollee, worked out with the team all through winter and was raring to go by the time spring drills started. Pitt only got three workouts in before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but for Addison, even that minimal opportunity has been a big deal.
“I feel like all that paid off, me coming in early to learn the playbook, get a connection with Kenny Pickett,” Addison said. “I feel like all that is great, and now I’m starting to get more comfortable. This is my second game now softly everything is starting to feel like home now.
Pickett said that it was obvious even back then that Pitt had a special player in Addison.
“Early on, I saw his talent level,” said Pickett, who also saw the benefit of enrolling early before his freshman season. “He’s a special kid, really. Off the field and his personality, it’s like he’s a junior almost or a sophomore. It’s not like he’s a true freshman the way he goes about his business, so that’s probably the most impressive part that I’ve seen from him and I just really love playing with him.”
The next group of people that noticed Addison’s talent were Pitt’s defensive backs. Addison said during training camp that he developed a little rivalry with Pitt starting safety Paris Ford — a player that could very well be in the NFL right now — and there’s photographic evidence of the youngster getting the upper hand at least one time.
“It’s great to see him finally getting his chance to play against someone else instead of us,” Pitt safety Damar Hamlin said. “Once I seen him at practice he was the most pure and for sure hands I’ve seen in a while and I told him that I think he’s going to be an [All-ACC] freshman.”
What’s the ceiling for Addison? Through two games, he’s the team’s leading receiver. If that continues, an All-ACC freshman award seems likely. But at the end of the day, what really seems to matter is that he’s earned the trust of his fellow players and coaches.
“He’s a guy that we trust,” Pat Narduzzi said. “He doesn’t play like a freshman.”