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July 31, 2012
Two summers ago, USC, which had been slapped with a myriad of penalties by the NCAA, watched a handful of returners bolt to other programs in a sort of feeding frenzy.
Defensive end Malik Jackson left for Tennessee, fullback D.J.Shoemate ended up at UConn and wide receiver Travon Patterson took off for Colorado, among others. All of the Trojans' juniors or seniors, such as the aforementioned, were permitted under NCAA sanctions to transfer to other FBS schools without the usual penalty of sitting out a season.
Now, though, roles have been reversed. Head coach Lane Kiffin and Co. have added Penn State junior running back Silas Redd, who will transfer to USC according to a Tuesday afternoon ESPN report from Joe Schad that was confirmed by Redd's father, Silas Redd Sr.
Later, Redd himself made a statement.
"This has obviously been a very busy, emotionally draining week for me and my family. 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: I will transfer to USC to complete my education and my college football career, beginning in the 2012-2013 year. Penn State gave me a phenomenal opportunity to become part of a legendary football program. My teammates, my coaches - past and present - and the staff have provided me with a tremendous amount of guidance and support since I arrived on campus, and I can't thank them enough for their time, their advice, and their friendship. They have given me such a strong foundation from which I can continue to grow.
"The Penn State community - including the Nittany Lions' unbelievable fan base - has also been a huge part of my incredible experience over the past two years. I have grown tremendously as a person and a player at Penn State, and the support of the community and our fans has been a big part of the reason why.
"I also want to extend my thanks to the media, who have embraced me and my family over my entire football career, even before I began at the college level.
"I think it is important to say that this situation is not something that I wished for myself, but it has happened, nonetheless. 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. 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.
"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. I look forward to future successes, and to the continued support of everyone around me."
The 209-pound Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore for the Nittany Lions last season, is eligible to play immediately in the wake of sanctions levied by NCAA President Mark Emmert against the school, which includes a $60 million fine and a four-year postseason ban.
After also deleting his Twitter account, Redd met with Penn State coach Bill O'Brien earlier this afternoon to inform him of his decision to transfer.
The 5-foot-10 junior will have two seasons of eligibility remaining should he opt to stay for his senior season.
This past fall, he played an instrumental role for a Penn State team that finished 9-4 overall and in a tie for first atop the Big Ten's Leaders Division with an appearance in the TicketCity Bowl against Houston. A second-team All-Big Ten selection, Redd also ran for 703 yards in the month of October - tops in the country.
A native of Norwalk, Conn., Redd spent the past weekend visiting USC, reportedly spending a fair amount of time with senior quarterback Matt Barkley and junior wide receiver Robert Woods. Redd and Woods have met before. Both, along with USC players D.J. Morgan, Christian Thomas and Demetrius Wright, took part in the 2010 Army All-American Game. Redd and Woods have kept in contact since.
He has also forged a relationship with the Trojans' backup quarterback, Max Wittek. Redd and Wittek played on the same Connecticut Pop Warner football team before Wittek moved to Orange County for high school at Mater Dei.
For now, where exactly Redd fits in on the Trojans' depth chart remains a bit of an unknown. After all, 1,000-yard rusher Curtis McNeal is back after his breakout 2011 season in which he averaged 6.9 yards per carry, good for 19th best in the country.
But outside of McNeal, the Trojans' backfield depth concerns are widely known, returning just three scholarship tailbacks in the wake of Amir Carlisle's decision to transfer to Notre Dame last January and Tre Madden's ACL injury. So much so Kiffin has relayed this point to anyone who will listen, more than hinting at the team's running back depth issues on multiple occasions during Pac-12 Media Day, calling it his "No. 1 concern." So whether Redd is or isn't able to supplant McNeal as the technical starter, he should very well factor into the rotation.
Foremost, however, USC still has to make room for Redd. Assuming incoming freshman wide receiver Darreus Rogers (Carson) qualifies academically, the Trojans are at 75 scholarship players, the maximum permitted under sanctions. And unlike other programs not facing NCAA penalties, they are not permitted to go over that limit to bring in a Penn State player. So should Rogers still qualify, a former walk-on would likely have to surrender his scholarship to make room for Redd.
Joey Kaufman is a Print and Digital Journalism major at USC and has covered the Trojans for the Daily Trojan, SB Nation and Neon Tommy since 2010. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeyRKaufman.