Penn State running back Silas Redd, the most publicly sought-after player on the Nittany Lions roster, was the only player slated to make Big Ten Media Days who was then replaced on the schedule. That's because he's transferring to USC, announcing the move to reporters via text message after heavy rumors of him considering a transfer and a pretty public courting by Lane Kiffin at Pac-12 Media Days.
In 2011, Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns, establishing himself as the closest thing PSU had to a national star player. While Redd's on-field production will certainly be missed in State College, his exit could prove even more damaging from a morale and perception standpoint.
For USC, this means freshman Nelson Agholor won't have to fill in at running back, freeing the speedster to focus on running routes. After the exits of running backs Amir Carlisle and Dillon Baxter, and George Farmer's move outside to receiver, USC's primary offensive question (besides left tackle) has now been answered, and the Trojans' national title odds are going to look just a little more enticing for many. Redd fortifies a position that otherwise featured a lot of small, fast guys, but few experienced rock-toters.
For Penn State, top tailback duties now fall to Bill Belton, a sophomore who had 13 carries last year and has already affirmed his commitment to PSU.
The peak irony here: USC's just now bowl-eligible again, thanks to undergoing NCAA sanctions of their own, and has seen multiple players leave over the last two years due to their own troubles. The Trojans have even been considered a potential model for PSU, though Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien has a much more difficult task ahead of him than Kiffin ever did. If USC wins a Pac-12 title partially on the strength of a player it got due to NCAA penalties, the world may explode.
Update: USC athletic director Pat Haden officially confirmed the news in a statement:
"We welcome Silas Redd to the Trojan Family. He is an outstanding student and athlete. When the NCAA presented the option to transfer, Silas and his family put a lot of thought and research into making this decision.
"At USC, we've seen both sides of this issue, having lost a number of players to transfer due to our NCAA sanctions in 2010. But Lane Kiffin and his coaches would not be doing their job if they did not try to improve our team every single day. There is a specific need here for a player like Silas Redd, so Lane and our coaches recruited him within the guidelines set up in this instance by the NCAA."