Silas Redd is officially — finally — a USC Trojan.
In the most anticipated transfer since the NCAA slapped Penn State with near death penalty sanctions and allowed all players to transfer without penalty, the college football country has been waiting for Silas Redd to make a decision about his future. In a statement to the press, Redd said he thought USC gave him the best chance for success.
"We have weighed the pros and cons of staying at Penn State and leaving Penn State, attending USC and not attending USC, and I can honestly say that, ultimately, this decision is about so much more than football," Redd said. "I continue to have aspirations for my life, and as my family and I considered the bigger picture — both on and off the field — it became clearer to me that USC will be the best fit for my academic, athletic, and personal needs over the next two years."
This is a big win for a USC program that was in need of running back depth. At Pac-12 media days, coach Lane Kiffin lamented about his stable of running backs and said he was going to put freshman wide receiver Nelson Agholor just to add depth.
Now, running back is a position of strength for the Trojans.
Redd will likely start the year second on the depth behind Curtis McNeal, who rushed for 1,005 yards last year but has battled injuries. The two will probably split carries as the season progresses. The Trojans also have D.J. Morgan, who had 42 carries a year ago.
Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last year and had a string of five 100-yard games in the middle of the season.
The addition of Redd has started comparisons between the 2012 Trojans and the 2005 Trojans (sans NCAA infractions). Both teams entered the season with a 3,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard rushers and top-notch receiving corps. That 2005 team went undefeated until losing to Texas 41-38 in the national championship. Unfortunately, you find any of this in the NCAA record books since the NCAA vacated the entire season after running back Reggie Bush was found retroactively ineligible.
This year's USC team is coming off those sanctions and embarking on its first bowl-eligible season since 2009. The addition of Redd almost guarantees the Trojans will start the season No. 1 in most, if not all, preseason polls.
So what does this mean for Penn State? Well, its running game will have to be totally revamped. Junior Curtis Dukes is the top returning rusher with 237 yards and a score and he's still weighing his options. He told the Watertown Daily Press he was "leaning towards staying here and just stick it out." After Dukes, it gets eerily quiet. Senior Derek Day has seven carries and has spent much of his career on special teams. Zach Zwinak and Deron Thompson are the other two options as well as Bill Belton, a converted wideout.
Without a proven running game, the pressure to produce offense falls on quarterback Matt McGloin, who hasn't exactly lit it up during his time with the Nittany Lions. Last year, McGloin completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,571 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions and was replaced intermittently throughout the season by the now departed Rob Bolden.
And the exodus is probably not over. Beyond Bolden's departure, the Nittany Lions also lost reserve safety Tim Buckley and linebacker Khairi Fortt is choosing between Cal and staying. And who knows how many other players might want to leave now that Penn State's top offensive players is out the door.