Penn State’s Silas Redd faces tough questions with no wrong answers

Should Silas Redd stay or go? It is a tough question for Penn State’s top running back. Getty Images.

The NCAA is allowing Penn State players a free transfer without having to sit out a season. The severity of the situation at Penn State may have drawn some criticism and debate over the penalties handed to Penn State but one thing that nobody has a real problem with is the decision to allow players a transfer free of waiver requests and reviews to continue playing right away. As coaches flock to State College form all over and many Penn State players confirm they will remain committed to Penn State, the big name that has yet to decide where he will play this fall is running back Silas Redd.

Joe Schad of ESPN reported that Redd has already been presented with an outline for how he would fit in to USC’s vaunted offense this season if he were the Trojans, and a meeting with head coach Lane Kiffin could happen in the coming days. Redd was initially set to represent Penn State at Big Ten media days but opted to skip it so he could evaluate his options instead. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill eventually took his place.

Redd is among the top running backs in the Big Ten, deserving of being in the conversation behind Montee Ball and with Rex Burkhead. If he remains at Penn State he will play this fall as the focal point of Penn State’s offense. He will be the best player on the field when Penn State has the football. Should he leave for USC he will be a key player for a vaunted offense with the likes of Matt Barkley, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. For Redd there are some serious pros and cons that come with playing at Penn State and USC, which should make for quite a tough decision for the down-to-earth running back from Connecticut.

For Redd it is a question that has no wrong answer.

If Redd stays at Penn State he will do so knowing that there will be no postseason game at the end of this season. The same will hold true for his senior season if he sticks around instead of jumping to the NFL. It is likely that Penn State could still be able to field a competitive team in 2012 with the players they have confirmed to come back, and having Redd would provide a certain level of stability to the running game. For Redd and any player who willingly chooses to remain with Penn State they will go down in legendary fashion within the Penn State community and will be remembered for their dedication to the program.

To some players, their college legacy is important, and each will define what makes it successful in his own way. Having interviewed Redd a number of times up at Penn State, he seems like a really humble player that does not put personal achievements above team chemistry. He is a real team player.

But Redd is also a competitor, and the desire to win a national championship does not exist at Penn State now. It sure does at USC.

Matt Barkley
Silas Redd would not be the face of USC’s
offense, and that could fit him well. 

If Redd were to transfer to USC he would be placed as a key player at a position of relative need for the Trojans, and he would be more of a cog in the engine rather than the ultimate leader on offense. The Trojans have Barkley to lead the offense and serve as the face of the program. Redd is a little more of a timid personality, and soft-spoken. At USC Redd can thrive on the field and not necessarily be the guy all the cameras will flock to on a regular basis. USC will also enter the season as one of the top contenders for a BCS championship, and Redd could become one of the next great running backs to play at USC if he chooses to transfer.

Redd must ask himself if he will remain committed to finishing what he started at Penn State and stick through a time of great adversity with his current teammates, or take the opportunity to pursue a BCS championship with a program already set-up to do so. Staying at Penn State will reward Redd with great admiration from the Penn State fan base in a time of need for bright spots. Transferring to USC could result in an experience that few players have the opportunity to experience.

The other key debate to factor in may be where Silas Redd’s NFL future can be paved better. Better yet, does it matter if Redd sticks at Penn State or goes to USC? Certainly playing for the Trojans could carry some increased national exposure, especially when USC will already be showing off some future NFL prospects such as Barkley. USC also has a solid reputation with developing NFL running backs. Of course, Penn State has an NFL edge as well. Penn State will still be on TV, so exposure will not be as much of a concern, and Bill O’Brien knows what it takes to play in the NFL. In fact, O’Brien’s NFL experience has taken on more emphasis in his plan to attract players to Penn State.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Redd will succeed on various levels wherever he chooses to play. Staying at Penn State would be worth a ton of respect. Winning a BCS championship could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

My gut instinct is that Redd will strongly consider a chance to play for USC but ultimately decide to stay at Penn State. In my time interviewing him it seems as though he is the kind of player that will decide to stick through one more year at Penn State. But the chance to win a national championship is tough to pass up. If he goes to USC, it would not be a surprise.

Kevin McGuire is host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast and managing editor of Nittany Lions Den. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.