Former Penn State star Silas Redd headed to USC

By Dan Norton and Stephen Pianovich

U. Southern California confirmed running back Silas Redd transferred to the school Tuesday from Penn State.

Redd’s decision comes after he reportedly visited USC’s campus over the weekend, and the junior running back becomes the first big name to officially transfer from Penn State since the NCAA imposed harsh sanctions against the university last Monday.

In a text statement, obtained by Dave Ruden of the Stamford Advocate, Redd said the decision to leave Penn State was not an easy one.

“This has obviously been a very busy, emotionally draining week for me and my family,” Redd said. “As many of you know, playing football at Penn State has been a dream of mine since I was seven years old, and I will be forever grateful that this dream became a reality. This is the reason that the decision I have made is so difficult for me.”

He said he was discussing the situation with his family for a long while before ultimately choosing to transfer.

“My family and I have spent many hours in recent days trying to decide what will be best for me as I look to the future – both personally and professionally,” he added. “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… 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.”

If Redd would have remained at Penn State, he would have been the team’s top offensive weapon. Last season, Redd led Penn State in rushing as he ran for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games and had a total of six 100-yard games.

Redd will be joining an already potent USC backfield which features quarterback Matt Barkley, a Heisman Trophy hopeful who threw for 3,528 yards last season. The Trojans also return senior running back Curtis McNeal, a senior who ran for 1,038 yards last season.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden also commented on Redd’s transfer.

“We welcome Silas Redd to the Trojan Family. He is an outstanding student and athlete. When the NCAA presented the option to transfer, Silas and his family put a lot of thought and research into making this decision,” Haden said in a press release. “At USC, we’ve seen both sides of this issue, having lost a number of players to transfer due to our NCAA sanctions in 2010. But Lane Kiffin and his coaches would not be doing their job if they did not try to improve our team every single day. There is a specific need here for a player like Silas Redd, so Lane and our coaches recruited him within the guidelines set up in this instance by the NCAA.”

With the loss of Redd, it looks like Penn State will turn to sophomore Bill Belton as the team’s starting running back. Belton was listed as the No. 2 running back behind Redd on a depth chart released by coach Bill O’Brien in June.

The speculation over Redd’s decision started on July 23 — the day the NCAA handed its sanctions to Penn State. ESPN reported that Redd was considering a transfer to USC.

Last Thursday, it reported Redd missed the Big Ten Media Days because he was meeting with USC coach Lane Kiffin in Connecticut — Redd’s home state.

On Saturday, Redd visited USC’s campus, according to ESPN.

Finally, Redd released his statement on Monday that confirmed he was transferring to USC after meeting with O’Brien in person.

Including Redd, Penn State has officially lost four players to transfer since the sanctions were announced. Quarterback Rob Bolden was removed from Penn State’s roster Sunday, and the Times-Picayune reports he will start practicing for LSU today.

Bolden was slated as the third-string quarterback on O’Brien’s most recent depth chart, behind Matt McGloin and Paul Jones, respectively. It was a long fall for Bolden, who started in 2010 as a freshman and platooned for most of 2011 with McGloin. Earlier in the summer, there were rumors floating around Bolden would transfer, but it never came to fruition.

Tight end Kevin Haplea will also transfer, heading to Florida State. Haplea was often used as a blocker, but he did catch three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown last season.

Backup safety Tim Buckley was the first player to officially leave the team. He departs for a scholarship at North Carolina State. Buckley did not play under scholarship at Penn State.

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