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.