Penn State running back Silas Redd will transfer to USC, making him the second Penn State player, and the first prominent one, to leave the Penn State program following the heavy sanctions placed on the Nittany Lions' program by the NCAA.
Redd is eligible to play immediately without sitting out a season as outlined by the NCAA when it announced the sanctions, which included a four-year bowl ban, for the way Penn State officials handled the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal.
Redd has two seasons of eligibility remaining, and he figures to step in a major contributor this season for the Trojans, who are expected to be ranked among the top five in preseason polls.
He may even compete for a starting job. The Trojans have only three other tailbacks on scholarship. One is senior Curtis McNeal, who rushed for 1,005 yards last season. Another is third-year sophomore D.J. Morgan, who rushed for 163 yards in 2011, and the third is redshirt freshman Buck Allen.
Redd ran for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last season, and was a second-team All-Big Ten pick.
Redd issued a statement on Tuesday, which read:
"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."
Redd met with USC coaches, quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods in Los Angeles over the weekend, and it had been reported he was leaning toward transferring to USC.
USC cannot have more than 75 scholarship players as a result of sanctions placed on its program because of improper benefits.
USC believes at least one player currently on scholarship is academically ineligible. If not, another player would have to relinquish a scholarship.
The first Penn State player to transfer was safety Tim Buckley, who was a walk-on at Penn State but will be on scholarship at North Carolina State. Former Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden is also likely to transfer to LSU, GeauxTigerNation reported Tuesday night.
Counting Redd and Buckley, Bolden reportedly is the fifth Nittany Lion to visit another school. The others are linebacker Khairi Fortt and offensive tackle Ryan Nowicki, who have yet to announce their decisions.