LOS ANGELES, CA - July 29, 2022 - - USC head coach Lincoln Riley is interviewed.

Lincoln Riley on Pat Narduzzi’s tampering accusations: I take it personally

LOS ANGELES, CA - July 29, 2022 - - USC head coach Lincoln Riley is interviewed.

USC coach Lincoln Riley speaks during Pac-12 Media Day at LA Live on Friday afternoon. Riley says he took it “absolutely” personally when Pitt’s coach Pat Narduzzi accused him of molestation. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

Three months after a fellow coach accused him of tampering with the top wideout in college football, Lincoln Riley finally got a chance to publicly defend against those allegations on Friday.

In his first Pac-12 media day as USC coach, Riley wrote down allegations that the Trojans molested Biletnikoff Prize winner Jordan Edison, when asked about claims made by Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi last April. Offered a soulful defense of his own integrity.

“When someone challenges it without fact and only emotion, do you take it personally? Absolutely you do,” Riley said. “I understand it’s an emotional time. It’s an emotional game with a lot of emotional people. We recruited Jordan just like we did every other transfer. Jordan got into the transfer portal. Jordan on the USC tour Came in. Despite all the negatives that someone magically put forth, it’s a kid who’s all about the ball.”

An ESPN report claimed that Narduzzi called Riley several times in late April to express his displeasure with the coach, which he believed was the official reason for Edison to join USC before joining USC. Was recruited on May 3, prior to entering the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Amidst rumors about multimillion-dollar NIL deals in wide waiting at Edison, USC after the allegations. Edison visited both Texas and USC and was committed to the Trojans on May 19, as many had expected.

“What he wanted to do his whole journey was the talk ball,” Riley said. “We literally missed a lot of the meals and entertainment that we had scheduled so we could watch more movies and talk at the ball more. That’s all. I think they got really, really wrong about this whole thing.” manner presented.”

Many suspected that his arrival came with a promised payday. But USC quarterback Caleb Williams, another transfer whose arrival has inspired his share of wild zero rumours, joined his coach on Friday, denying that was the case with Edison, with whom he had his own in the DC area. They already had a relationship based on upbringing.

The two also joked about Edison’s rumored payout of $3 million.

“It was not about zero for Jordan,” Williams said. “It was one of the biggest things. People thought it was about the NIL. The people inside knew it wasn’t. Jordan wants to win. Jordan wants to be the best receiver – someone for any other school.” Not a crime.”

Williams admitted to being at Edison’s ear throughout the process, trying to persuade him to join USC.

He was not alone.

“It was like 15 of my teammates texted Jordan,” Williams said. “I was like, ‘Guys we’re going to need him to win some big games.’ Jordan was so important.”

Significant enough to warrant a reference from Pac-12 commissioner George Kleivkopf, who declined to mention any USC players by name but saw the arrival of college football’s top receiver as a sign of vitality for the conference. pointed to.

That arrival stirred more controversy than confidence during the spring. But as USC looks ahead, it’s already clear just how much influence Edison can have on a completely reconstructed Trojan crime.

Williams called him “the team’s fastest receiver”. Riley called him “a perfect playwright”.

There was even more impressive praise from linebacker Shane Lee.

“I’ve been around great receivers,” Lee said. “He is great.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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