Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Silas Redd makes it official

Silas Redd is headed to USC, according to Silas Redd and USC and every media source in existence:
Penn State junior tailback Silas Redd has confirmed he will transfer to USC, where he will be eligible immediately for the Trojans.

"We welcome Silas Redd to the Trojan family,'' Southern Cal’s athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "When the NCAA presented the option to transfer, Silas and his family put a lot of research into making this decision.
So that's that. I said yesterday that I'd Ctrl+C/Ctrl+P my already-written analysis and will do so now.

The standard "USC has 47 five-star running backs" argument doesn't apply anymore. The depth chart goes like this: senior Curtis McNeal (an average-ish starter), sophomore D.J. Morgan, nothing. Redd's probably better than either one of those guys -- he did put up 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last year behind Penn State's mediocre line -- and therefore would will probably get at least some regular carries immediately.

According to Pedro Moura of ESPN Los Angeles, Redd is coming in as the nominal backup:
Silas Redd will come in as Curtis McNeal’s backup. Expect them to split carries by midseason.
I'd agree with that. Redd put up 1,200 yards (at 5.09 a carry) and seven touchdowns last year for a team with a nonexistent passing game and a meh offensive line. McNeal is decent -- he had 1,005 yards on almost 100 fewer carries than Redd had -- but, IMO, largely benefited from (rather than significantly contributed to) USC's total awesomeness on offense. He's just a guy, whereas Redd was an All-Big Ten dude last year despite the aforementioned disadvantages. A cursory glance at the Pac-12 starters leads me to conclude that he's probably the best running back in the conference who doesn't play for Oregon (he's actually pretty comparable to Stepfan Taylor).

And whether or not McNeal is the nominal starter doesn't really matter; USC now has two solid-to-good running backs with varying skill sets to complement the best quarterback in the country and arguably the best receiver in the country. There's a reason this team is probably gonna be No. 1 when the (mostly meaningless) polls come out in a couple weeks.

BTW, Redd and McNeal are both juniors and therefore could end up essentially splitting carries for each of the next two years; Lane Kiffin would probably be on board with that given the likely playcalling shift that'll go along with the necessary indoctrination of a totally untested quarterback in 2013.

As for Penn State, there is no replacement since Stepfon Green shuffled off the eligibility coil via graduation. Curtis Drake had the most touches of anybody else last year but switched to cornerback in spring and then got kicked off the team back in June; nobody else on the roster had more than 13 carries last year, and those 13 carries belonged to converted quarterback/wideout Bill Belton, a pretty fast sophomore who was a somewhat highly touted recruit but is still a converted quarterback/wideout with 13 career carries. He will not be Silas Redd this year. Neither will true freshman Akeel Lynch (no matter what anybody on the Penn State-centric interwebs wants to believe). It will not matter.


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