Let’s start with the obvious: London was a 6-foot-4, 220-pound, imposing jump-ball machine with the physicality of an NBA small forward and a ridiculous catch radius to boot. Addison is four inches shorter, nearly 50 pounds lighter and a near-unstoppable deep threat who might dust London in a foot race.
By virtue of those different skillsets, their roles are bound to look quite different in USC’s offense. Where London spent most of his time lined up outside for USC last season, Addison did the vast majority of his damage for Pitt — 68% of snaps — from the slot, according to Pro Football Focus.
Both caught passes all over the field, as USC and Pitt’s offenses made concerted efforts to manufacture touches and get the ball in their best player’s hands.
But while Addison staked his claim as one of the nation’s most dangerous deep threats, scoring 10 touchdowns of 20-plus yards, London was deployed far more often inside of 10 yards. Sixty-five percent of London’s receptions last season came either inside of 10 yards or behind the line of scrimmage.
Addison may not be the same imposing physical presence as London, but he’s no slouch when it comes to catching passes in traffic. He had 15 contested catches last season, according to Pro Football Focus, just two fewer than London, who led the nation despite playing just eight games.
It’s not clear yet how USC plans to deploy its new top receiver. But it’s safe to assume that strategy will look a bit different than last season.