LOS ANGELES — USC, projected by many to be a leading contender for the Bowl Championship Series title this season, got a major addition Tuesday when Penn State running back Silas Redd announced he would transfer and join the Trojans.
Redd, a junior, made his announcement after a midday meeting with Penn State Coach Bill O’Brien.
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.
“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.”
Kiffin met with Redd and his family last week in Connecticut. Redd and family members visited USC from Saturday through Monday before returning home and then meeting with O’Brien in State College, Pa.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Redd joins a USC tailback corps that features 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.
Kiffin had hoped that Tre Madden would provide the Trojans with a big-back presence, but the converted linebacker suffered a season-ending knee injury during spring practice.
So 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.
USC informed Penn State of its intent to pursue Redd. Kiffin is not allowed to comment publicly about Redd or any recruits, but he went out of his way to lament the Trojans’ tailback depth duringPac-12Conference media day last week. He also said that incoming freshman receiver Nelson Agholor would open training camp on Aug. 6 as a running back.
Those plans are expected to change with the arrival of Redd, who has two years of eligibility remaining.
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 made verbal commitments to the Trojans.