USC’s football team, already considered a national championship contender, got stronger Tuesday with the addition of running back Silas Redd, who announced he would transfer from Penn State and join the Trojans.
Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns in 244 carries last season, will be eligible immediately in the wake of NCAA sanctions against Penn State that give every Nittany Lions player the opportunity to transfer without having to sit out a season.
Redd, a junior, said in a statement that he considered USC “the best fit for my academic, athletic and personal needs over the next two years.” He also thanked his former teammates, coaches and Penn State’s “unbelievable fan base” for his “incredible experience” there the last two years.
Redd made his announcement after meeting with Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien. USC Coach Lane Kiffin traveled to Connecticut last week to meet with Redd and his family. The running back and family members then visited USC from Saturday through Monday.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Redd joins a USC tailback corps that had only three scholarship players.
Curtis McNeal, a fifth-year senior, is the returning starter after rushing for 1,005 yards last season. Third-year sophomore D.J. Morgan started the first two games in 2011 and finished the season with 163 yards rushing. Redshirt freshman Buck Allen has been plagued by injuries.
USC began pursuing Redd the day the NCAA announced sanctions against Penn State as a result of the scandal surrounding former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of sexually abusing boys, some at Penn State facilities.
Though Kiffin was not allowed to comment publicly about Redd or any recruits, he went out of his way to lament the Trojans’ tailback depth during Pac-12 Conference media day last week.
“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,” USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said in a statement released by the university. “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.”
It is not clear what effect, if any, Redd’s arrival would have on Ty Isaac and Justin Davis, high school running backs in the class of 2013 who have committed to the Trojans.