September 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans running back Silas Redd (25) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the California Golden Bears during the firsthalf at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Did Silas Redd Make a Mistake by Transferring to USC?

Since USC first lost to Stanford, the discussion has been there. It’s prominent at tailgates. It’s mentioned on Twitter. I’ve even heard it in the pressbox. This tweet, from a Gopher alum/ex Baltimore Raven who apparently re-located to southern California, tells me that the discussion happens in other places, as well.



Well, wait…what?

Let’s hash this out, once and for all. Or, until the next time. We’ll get back to Ron Johnson’s tweet in a moment.

Part of the reason Silas transferred was for a shot at winning a championship. That’s not going to happen now. A Rose Bowl is still possible but is a longshot right now. He will get to play in a bowl, which he would not have been able to do at Penn State. However, USC’s record of 6-3 doesn’t lend itself to the idea that the bowl they land in will be all that prestigious.

To sum that situation up, Redd left his friends and teammates as well as luxury of having his parents at every game to play in a lack luster bowl game. Hind sight is 20/20, but he didn’t leave for that.

Now, back to Mr. Johnson, I’m not sure what in the world he was referring to. We’ll break it down, by each segment.

First, Mr. Johnson says Redd is “showing out this year.” When he sent the tweet, Redd was in the midst of a 92 yard rushing game that the Trojans lost by two scores. Let’s take a look at the year he’s having. In one game, he had just 3 carries before leaving with an injury. In his other 8 games, he is averaging just under 90 yards per game and has 9 touchdowns in them. Solid by any standards, though not exactly “showing out.”

The 2nd part of the tweet, “Penn State would not have showcased his talent with that shamble they have goin on” is a bit confusing. Penn State has the same record as USC, so there isn’t really a “shamble.” As far as showcasing his talents, I actually think that could have been done better at Penn State than USC. There’s no way of quantifying it, statistically, but here’s what we have. Redd is averaging just short of 90 yards per game in the 8 games he has played significant snaps. Penn State’s leading rusher, backup fullback-turned halfback Zach Zwinak, has taken meaningful snaps in just 6 games. In those, he is averaging just over 90 yards per game. There’s no denying that Redd is the more talented ball-carrier. What is worth debating, is how many more yards he would have in those games.

Silas Redd is sharing the ball at USC with guys like Robert Woods and Heisman candidate Marquise Lee, not to mention 1,000 yard rusher Curtis McNeal. At Penn State, he would likely be the focal point of the offense. On top of that, Penn State would almost certainly be at least 7-2, a game better than USC. Remember, PSU started Derek Day in the one point loss to Virginia.

If the term “showcase” was referring to something else, like exposure, that gets a little tricky. The move to USC has undoubtedly given Redd notoriety on the west coast that he didn’t have before, but what is that worth? USC has played a couple games in prime time, but they’ve also played some late-night games that few people on the east coast have seen. At the same time, Penn State has played 7 of their 9 games on national television and have played the majority of their games at 3:30 or later. Did he get more national exposure from a transfer than he would have from a highly-productive season at Penn State? Who knows. More importantly, which would have been more beneficial to him and his career?

While Pac 12 exposure might be nice, it doesn’t get you any rings and it doesn’t help your draft status, two very important things to any college football player.

You and I can’t say whether Silas Redd made a mistake. Only he knows what regrets he has inside. Hell,  he may have none. Southern California isn’t the worst place in the world to be in November.

The intangibles and benefits from the transfer are impossible to judge. However, there is one question that can be asked: What has he really gained from the move?

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

Tags: Football Penn State Nittany Lions Usc Trojans

  • Willie Green

    LOL! Johnson is really getting savaged by the Tritterverse, isn’t he?
    I kind of feel sorry for him, because reading his other tweets, he actually sounds like a pretty decent guy whose only “crime” is that he hasn’t followed this sorrowful saga as closely as the rest of us. It’s obvious that he even swallows the Freeh Report, hook, line and sinker, that Administration “covered up” for Sandusky.

    But getting back to Silas, now he’s saying that Redd merely wanted to get away from all the distracting publicity and go to a bowl game, which may or may not be true. But so what? Nobody knows unless Redd wants to say so himself.

    But I agree. If he had stayed at PSU, he would’ve been “showcased” much more than at USC. But then again, we wouldn’t have had as much fun enjoying the emergence of Belton/Day/Zwinak & Zordich. So let’s wish Silas well, but I think that defection turned out better for us than it did for him. Too bad.

    • Tallygal

      I’m not so sure about R.J. being a good guy since he kicked a puppy he thought was injured.

      But, according to all, Silas is a good guy and advised by football “gurus” to go. He was enticed to a school by a known cheater, hiding the dirt with a booster’s private jet. Silas would have played for a Penn State coach with integrity, who can better prepare him for the NFL and showcased in highest rated television as the premier back. That was not apparent at the time he left. I feel bad for him.

      What most outside PA don’t know is that, if ever there was a program that could survive the situation we were in, it is Penn State; and, with Bill O’Brien, not survive, but thrive.

      BTW, R.J., the way you used “shamble” — in the singular — is incorrect,

  • billmurrayish

    I’ll go one further..he’d be playing for an undefeated team….the staff had to retool with 2 weeks to go before the first game…had he stayed, better offense, better game plans for first 2 games…

    • Tim Tolley

      I think it’s hard to say that what would have happened in two games that Penn State lost by multiple scores, especially the OSU game. Also, I believe Redd was gone by the start of summer camp.

      • billmurrayish

        yeah, he announced on the 1st right? still only a few weeks to retool. I really do believe this would have been a more productive offense with Redd. May have made the difference in the first two games, however, one never knows….maybe his transfer allowed the offense to open up…we’ll never know…one thing is for sure, he isn’t the highlight reel he was last year…..

  • flyinggerbil

    poor $ellout $ila$. not only is he a traitor (a label he’ll never live down), but he plays on a team that may end up with more losses than the one he betrayed. have fun living in the ghetto that is usc’s campus.

  • Poor Dirt Lawyer

    i think the colosseum was at least sold out. i see lots of empty seats at beaver stadium. as a matter of fact it looked like east lansing had almost as many empty seats as beaver stadium last week.

    • AP

      The problem is that Penn State’s smallest crowd this year was still more than capacity at the Colosseum. Yes, attendance has been down, but it’s still higher than most other places and it’s primarily due to the new licensing, not disinterest in the team.

  • AP

    I don’t fault Redd for his decision. You can argue that exposure is the same and many of the other factors lean in Penn State’s favor, but there is one thing that NFL teams will obviously look at and consider: abuse and injury. If the program had crumbled – like many predicted – the offensive gameplan simply might have turned into “give the ball to Redd” 40 times a game. Not only does that make him more susceptible to injury, but it also puts more miles on him. He may not put up the numbers that he could have here, but he is proven and he will have less “mileage” on him coming out of college, which may be a plus for NFL scouts.

    Running back is a unique position and Silas Redd is a guy that could end up a 1st or 2nd round pick in the NFL draft. I’m sure the decision wasn’t easy for him, but ultimately I think he was the one guy that needed to at least consider his future over everything else. This was a decision that could make – or cost – him millions of dollars. You may call that a being a sellout or a traitor, but I see that as doing what’s best for him and his family.

    • Ryan J. Murphy

      How is he going to be a first-round pick? First off, no one takes RB in the first round any more…secondly, he’d need to be an otherworldly RB to get that kind of consideration. Getting a handful of touches a game at USC (thanks Lane!) isn’t going to make him a head-spinning kind of prospect.

      • AP

        There were 3 RBs taken in the first round last year (Richardson, Martin & Wilson). Redd had 1200 yards last year as a true sophomore and is clearly USC’s #1 back (in an offense that is pass-oriented). He’s proven and yet hasn’t been abused. Scouts will have seen enough of him from both PSU and USC to make a good assessment. I’m not saying he’s definitely going to be a first round pick, but he’s got the talent to be drafted in the first 3 rounds and I don’t think his move to USC has damaged that.

  • truth

    I’m not sure what game you were watching, Poor Dirt Lawyer, but Beaver Stadium was sold out with nearly 108k people last week. When the media says PSU is not filling their stadium, they aren’t mentioning that there are still 95k+ people at Beaver Stadium each week.

  • truth

    Further, if one understood how “in the middle of nowhere” PSU is, having that many people traverse to its location week in and week out is quite a feat in and of itself.

  • Mcds

    He would have stayed at PSU he’d be going PRO making millions. He still may, but big risk!


    bottom line… Silas Redd is splitting time at RB on an underachieving USC instead of starring on an over-achieving PSU… USC will be lucky to appear in a BCS bowl at this rate… what has Redd gained by transferring? definitely not what he thought he’d gain… Redd wanted Pete Carroll’s USC, but this is Lane Kiffin’s USC… and inferior product by Trojan standards…

    • Michael Castillo

      He still has a year of eligibility left to get to a BCS bowl. That opportunity wasn’t at PSU, regardless of who is coaching where.

      • Phil D.

        And you think that’s happening next year at USC? Oregon isn’t going anywhere, Stanford will be better, and who knows with ASU and Arizona, but they aren’t bad programs. You’re going to lose Barkley, Woods, and Lee, and playmakers on defense, and you expect next year’s team to be better than this year’s? Who do you think you are, Alabama?

        Redd is going to leave after this season if he knows what’s good for him. He won’t raise his profile any more playing for good-but-not-great USC team next year.

        • Michael Castillo

          Lee is only a sophomore and they only lose Woods(99% he declares for the draft), Barkley and Holmes on offense. Considering that Agholor is getting Woods’ reps at WR right now, it’s not as bad as it could be. Five returners on the OL, two returning RBs, three returning TEs and two QBs in their third year of Kiffin’s offense, mind you without experience. They don’t get Oregon on the schedule until 2015 and Stanford, UCLA and Arizona all go to the Coliseum. Defensively, they return the entire front seven. Plus, they bring in the #1 recruiting class. I’m not being a homer and calling for a title, but 10 wins and a BCS bowl is not a stretch at all.

          • Phil D.

            My mistake, I thought Lee was a RSSO and draft-eligible. 10 Wins, I could see, but I think the Pac12 still shakes out Oregon-Stanford-USC next year as the top three teams, in that order. Just my two cents. Either way, more wins that PSU next year, to be fair ;)

  • Michael Castillo

    Silas Redd said he wanted to leave back last November when the story first broke. It wasn’t strictly about winning a title, and he’s only a junior. He has one more opportunity and can still play in a Rose Bowl this season.

    • Phil D.

      Right, but he didn’t say he wanted to leave last November until after he left. He was pretty rah-rah about PSU rallying together and staying together as a team up until Kiffykins showed up promising him a shot at the BCS.

      • Michael Castillo

        “A lot of people don’t know that I had questioned leaving in November when it first hit the fan and I talked to my family, they were really my anchors and really the shoulders I needed to lean on. I decided to stay through the winter and we really started to turn the corner with the new program and coach O’Brien and everything and then the things happened with the Freeh Report and that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back so to say.”

        That quote was from this past August. I would leave the link, but that would count as spam as the comment won’t show. Feel free to Google.

        • Phil D.

          Right, that was in August… after he left to go to USC. Publicly, up until the sanctions hit, he was all about Penn State and keeping everything together. He could’ve just stayed quiet about it that whole time, but he was outwardly supportive of all things PSU instead.

  • carolyntodd

    Not sure O’Brien would have featured him as much as we think. Would have depended on his attitude and willingness to be a part of the team and to practice. In any case other than the first two games, which might have been won had Redd been in the game, I have no complaints about what has happened since to our team.

  • Phil D.

    You reap what you sow. /shrug

    Let’s talk about the guys that are still here, shall we? Those are the only ones that I care about, and care about Penn State.

  • Bob

    One other big intangible that wasn’t mentioned is how many people were shot on campus at Penn State compared to USC so far this year? I do wish Silas well though and I hope he has great success throught the rest of his college career and on into the NFL. As the author said, it is only Silas Redd that really knows how is feeling about his choice now. Best wishes either way Silas.

    • Joe

      bob, should we talk about what went one at Penn St over the last several yrs. I will take an on campus shooting once in a blue moon over the sick shit that went on at that University and the entire football staff and school tried and cover up.. Silas is going to be fine no matter where he played. He will be a high draft pick. Maybe he just wanted to get away from the bad publicity penn was getting.

  • mjg

    I know my opinion isn’t shared by all, but the bottom line is you either man up and do the right thing by your friends and teammates…..or you don’t.

  • Devil Weed

    Redd choosing to transfer will cost him millions. End of discussion. Hope the girls and night life were worth $8M to him.

  • shinobi1

    Redd squandered the opportunity to overcome. The Penn State squad has done it anyway, without him. But Redd revealed himself an opportunist and a quitter in the process. Most of the Penn State team showed amazing character and stuck beneath the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

    A few jumped ship. Redd jumped. People will remember. The stain from being a quitter lingers a long time. It’s not easily washed away or forgotten.

  • endzone644

    Zach Zwinak just had another 100+ yard game.

    In other news, Silas Redd had 3 rushes for 8 yards in a fourth loss this season.