It's open season on Penn State players, and arguably the team's most valuable piece is being targeted.
Colleague Joe Schad, citing a source, reports Monday night that USC has notified Penn State of its interest in Nittany Lions star running back Silas Redd. Redd, a junior, rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last season, his first as the team's featured back.
The NCAA announced Monday that Penn State players can transfer to other programs with no restrictions and won't have to sit out a season. Once a player tells Penn State he wants to transfer, interested schools then must inform Penn State of their intentions.
Although the season starts in less than six weeks, Redd seems likelier to make a quicker transition than, say, a quarterback or a lineman. He runs the ball extremely well in a pro-style offense, and USC has a reputation for producing star running backs.
Redd has been extremely loyal to Penn State throughout this turbulent time and reaffirmed his pledge to the team at a charity event July 13, the day after the Freeh report was released. But things have changed with the NCAA sanctions, which, among other things, prohibit Penn State from postseason play, which includes the Big Ten championship game.
It'll be interesting to see what Redd decides. He could thrive in coach Bill O'Brien's offense this year and then depart for the NFL after the season. He also could step into a different team -- USC, Georgia, the list goes on -- and have a strong season.
Although player departures are inevitable at Penn State after Monday's announcement, Redd's would really sting. He's a second-team All-Big Ten selection primed for big things in 2012.
Redd is scheduled to attend Big Ten football media days later this week in Chicago alongside O'Brien and two of his teammates. He'll surely be asked about his future plans then.