Source: Silas Redd thinking USC
No Regrets For Bill O'Brien
Redd, Penn State's leading rusher last season, is considering transferring to the Trojans because of the perceived opportunity to compete for a championship. USC is pointing to a high number of recent freshman All-Americans as evidence Redd can pick up the system quickly.
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In the days since the NCAA dealt Penn State football a devastating blow, Bill O'Brien has rolled up his sleeves and tried to keep his team together, Mark Schlabach writes. Story
Staying at Penn State and then entering the NFL draft after one year is still an option for Redd, and the most likely one if he chooses against joining USC, sources said. A final decision could come as early as Monday, according to a source.
Penn State's leading rusher last season, Redd was not among the group of players that gathered Wednesday in State College, Pa., to announce its support of the embattled football program.
Meanwhile, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien said Wednesday that all of his players have been recruited by other teams' coaches, and several players have received as many as 50 scholarship offers to play for opposing teams.
In the 48 hours since the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions against the program, an extraordinary recruiting frenzy has played out on Penn State's campus, where players are working out. At noon Wednesday, several groups of coaches from opposing teams were waiting in the Lasch Football Building parking lot to recruit Penn State players.
"Our players are in our building right now and they don't want to leave the building because there are coaches from other schools in the parking lot waiting to see them," said O'Brien, who spent the morning at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., campus.
Penn State players are free to transfer without having to sit out, and Redd is being told by coaches at various programs that he can play right away. Interested schools, however, must notify Penn State first per NCAA rules.
USC notified Penn State on Monday that it is interested in Redd, another source said. As they boarded a plane Wednesday morning to go to Bristol, O'Brien and his colleagues walked past a group of six coaches carrying University of Illinois bags and suitcases. A Penn State official told ESPN.com that no words were exchanged between O'Brien and the Illinois contingent.
O'Brien declined to identify the players who have been offered up to 50 scholarships, but Illinois assistant athletic director Kent Brown acknowledged a group of Fighting Illini coaches are on Penn State's campus to recruit "a player or two -- maybe more."
Illinois AD Mike Thomas has communicated with Penn State acting AD Dave Joyner, in accordance with Big Ten rules, about the Fighting Illini pursuing Nittany Lions players.
In a statement released Tuesday, the NCAA said, "Penn State cannot restrict in any way a student-athlete from pursuing a possible transfer. Student-athletes must simply inform Penn State of their interest in discussing transfer options with other schools. Before communicating with student-athletes, interested schools also must inform Penn State of their intention to open discussions with the student-athlete."
The compliance office at Penn State's campus has been flooded with faxes and emails from other schools. But O'Brien asked Wednesday that opposing coaches also call him "as a professional courtesy."
He said three to five coaches had called but estimated that most of the Division I schools are now aggressively recruiting Penn State players.
Redd, a 5-foot-10, 209-pound junior, ran for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
USC coach Lane Kiffin would not comment on Redd specifically Tuesday during the Pac-12's media day. But Kiffin acknowledged the Trojans could use help in the backfield.
"Our No. 1 concern is our running back depth," Kiffin said. "We really have to do a good job there developing depth."
Any transferred Penn State player who gets a scholarship does not count against another school's scholarship total. O'Brien said the recruiting frenzy has led to "an NFL free-agent system" in collegiate sports.
Immediately after the NCAA sanctions were announced Monday, O'Brien held a team meeting preaching togetherness and the challenge of overcoming adversity. But he acknowledged Wednesday he did not anticipate that other schools would push this hard for every player on his team.
"These kids don't want to leave Penn State," O'Brien said. "They want to play for Penn State. It is my opinion these coaches should leave them alone, but if they don't want to leave them alone, they should make sure they give me a call before they try to recruit them."
O'Brien said he was motivated to speak out about the massive recruiting push.
"I want everybody to understand -- our fans, everybody involved with this program -- what is going on with these student-athletes right now," O'Brien said. "They're under tremendous pressure.
"I am just concerned about taking care of the my kids who play for me. I am concerned about being there with them and doing the best to protect them. They don't want to go anywhere else."
Don Van Natta Jr. is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @DVNJr.
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