Pennsylvania State University lost its most high-profile player since being hit with sanctions that include a four-year bowl ban, as running back Silas Redd is transferring to the University of Southern California.
Redd, 20, rushed for 1,241 yards as a sophomore last season, the 10th-highest total in school history, and scored a team-leading seven touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Redd has two seasons of college football eligibility remaining and will be able to play immediately for USC, which isn’t allowed to have more than 75 scholarship players -- 10 fewer than the maximum -- due to National Collegiate Athletic Association penalties the school received in 2010 for giving football players improper benefits.
“At USC, we’ve seen both sides of this issue, having lost a number of players to transfer due to our NCAA sanctions,” USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said in a statement. “But Lane Kiffin and his coaches would not be doing their job if they did not try to improve our team every single day.”
USC is bowl-eligible this season, though will have to clear a scholarship for Redd as a result of its sanctions, meaning a walk-on player would probably have to give up a scholarship if an incoming freshman recruit isn’t academically ineligible.
The NCAA on July 23 hit Penn State with a $60 million fine, took away 20 scholarships annually for four years and issued a postseason ban that matches the longest in college football history after determining school officials tried to cover up child abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The NCAA also said it would allow any entering or returning Penn State football player to transfer to another school and play immediately. The program has also had safety Tim Buckley transfer to North Carolina State and junior tight end Kevin Haplea leave for Florida State.
Running Back Depth
Kiffin, USC’s coach, had said at last week’s Pacific-12 Conference media day that his biggest concern for this season was the team’s depth at running back. That’s been addressed with the addition of Redd, who started last season with five straight 100-yard rushing games, becoming the first Nittany Lion to accomplish the feat since Curtis Enis in 1997.
Redd enters the season as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation’s top running back.
The Trojans return senior quarterback Matt Barkley, who decided to come back to school rather than enter the National Football League draft after throwing a school-record 39 touchdown passes last season. He also passed for 3,528 yards as the Trojans went 10-2, but were ineligible to play in a bowl game because of their NCAA violations.