Nov 26, 2011; Madison, WI, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Michael Zordich (9) during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers defeated the Nittanty Lions 45-7. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Outside of Redd, Entire Penn State Backfield Will Remain at Penn State

Penn State lost standout running back Silas Redd to USC this past week. He will be the only member of the PSU offensive backfield that leaves.

Senior fullback Michael Zordich made it clear early in the process that he wasn’t going anywhere. Then again, I don’t think anybody ever thought otherwise.

It didn’t take sophomore RB Bill Belton long at all to declare his loyalty, tweeting on July 4th:

On Sept.1 Allen Robinson and I will be playing in Blue & White vs Ohio U.

— Bill Belton (@therealbill_1) July 24, 2012

Belton returns from a freshman campaign that saw him start at wide receiver, then take some snaps as the “wildcat QB” late in the season. He finished the year with 13 carries for 65 yards. He was moved to running  back during spring practice and looked solid at the position during the Blue-White game in April.

At the time of Redd’s departure, Belton and Zordich were the only two confirmed backfield players who were returning and Penn Staters got nervous. Shortly after, things fell into place.

Incoming freshman Akeel Lynch strongly considered a transfer to Iowa and many thought he was on his way out. That ended up not being the case. Lynch declared, via Twitter that he would be remaining with Penn State.

I will be wearing #22 in Blue&White jersey come Sept. 1st #WeStillAre #PennState #Sorryforthewait

— Akeel Lynch (@ALynch_22) August 4, 2012

It’s quite possible that Silas leaving actually helped Lynch decide to stay. The loss of Redd gives the other offensive skill position players around 25 touches per game that are now up for grabs.

Lynch may have  been the most critical member to re-commit as he will be at Penn State through the duration of the sanctioned years. A player of his caliber will help endure the times to come. Having said that, the returning players at this point severely lacked experience.

That was until Curtis Dukes, now the team’s leading returning rusher, announced he would be returning to Penn State. Let’s be honest, it sounded like Dukes had some real interest in Syracuse, and it may not have been reciprocated. That could have been due to his academic issues in the spring, or from a number of other things. Truth is, Penn State fans don’t care why Dukes is back, only that he will be on the sideline this fall. In 011, Dukes rushed 41 times for 237 yards.

Finally, fullback Zach Zwinak announced to the Fredrick News Post that he would be coming back to Penn State. Zach came to Penn State as one of the top fullbacks in the country. He is a diverse player, though, and may earn some short-yardage carries. He is faster than Michael Zordich and more of a natural ball carrier.

The loss of Silas Redd shouldn’t be understated, but there is still some diverse talent in the Penn State backfield and will continue to be for years to come.

For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.

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Tags: Akeel Lynch Curtis Dukes Iowa Michael Zordich Syracuse Zach Zwinak

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