Lane Kiffin targeted Silas Redd

Updated: August 1, 2012, 5:31 PM ET
By Pedro Moura | Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- USC coach Lane Kiffin knew he was going to recruit Penn State running back Silas Redd, even before the Nittany Lions' sanctions were handed down by the NCAA the morning of July 23.

Expecting "something was probably coming," Kiffin and his staff examined the entire PSU roster in recent weeks with the goal of finding a potential immediate contributor, he recounted in an interview on ESPN Radio's "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on Wednesday.

"There was only one guy that would really fit, that could come in and really help us," Kiffin said. "And that was Silas."

So Kiffin called Redd's high school coach, Dan Gouin, and let it be known that the Trojans were seeking a tailback. Redd's father called Kiffin back the same day and said, "USC was the one school his son would like to look at," according to Kiffin.

Two days later, Kiffin and five assistant coaches were in Connecticut to visit with the family in one all-encompassing 3½-hour meeting. Speaking to Cowherd on Wednesday, Kiffin said part of the process was unusual compared to most meetings on the recruiting trail.

By the time he's making in-home visits with a recruit, Kiffin typically knows "everything about everybody around him." But he and his staff knew very little about Redd.

"It was a little bit different," Kiffin said. "At first, it took a little bit of time to break through and break in and develop some relationships there.

"But by the end of it, I thought it was great."

Redd brought up two primary concerns early in the meeting, Kiffin said. First was fitting in with his teammates on such short notice. Second was his role in a stacked Trojans' offense.

The first issue was resolved when the junior running back officially visited the USC campus last weekend and met many of the Trojans players. As evidence that Redd meshed immediately with the likes of Matt Barkley and Robert Woods, Kiffin noted that the recruit spurned his provided hotel room to stay the night at the home of team captains Barkley and T.J. McDonald.

The second concern was solved almost immediately, Kiffin said, when he and his staff showed Redd a detailed plan of how he'd be used at the initial meeting in Connecticut.

Redd ended up leaving Los Angeles and returning home just before the 48-hour limit to his visit was up Monday morning.

"At that point, I'm sure he knew that he was coming to USC," Kiffin said.

One day later, he met with Penn State coach Bill O'Brien -- a move Kiffin praised -- and announced in a statement he was leaving the Nittany Lions for the Trojans.

Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

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