Penn State running back Silas Redd met with USC coach Lane Kiffin for three hours Thursday in Connecticut, and a source said “it went really well.” Redd may travel to California for a visit Saturday and decide by Monday. Redd, Penn State’s leading rusher last season, is intrigued by the chance to compete for a national championship and that could overwhelm the emotional part of him wanting to stay for his teammates, the source said. Redd has two years of eligibility remaining; he would plan to play at USC for both seasons, but could turn pro after this year if he was judged to be a first-rounder. USC laid out an extensive presentation on how Redd would fit with the team, including Power Point presentation and video clips.
Kiffin, no doubt, would try and sell Redd on the chance to come in and be a key part of a national title team. He’s also could mention that since USC has star QB Matt Barkley and the best tandem of receivers in the country, it’s doubtful Redd will see many eight-man boxes. Or that last year Penn State was 96th in the country in passing. The Nittany Lions completed on just 48 percent of their passes and were 112th in passing efficiency. Redd also is childhood friends with Trojan QB Max Wittek, Barkley’s back-up. Will all that be enough to lure Redd, a Connecticut native, to Southern California? We should know more in the next week as the start of training camps approach.
Then there are the Los Angeles Kings. Yes, the unlikely Stanley Cup champs are a source of inspiration for Barkley, who attended some of the Kings’ playoffs games at Staples Center. “I was stoked,” Barkley recalled this week. “It was cool to witness those games as a fan and to see how much a team can inspire a city. It was tremendous how raucous it was and how loud that place was as a fan knowing that we have the opportunity to do something similar…kind of rally a city and ignite our fans who have stuck with us.”
One need only look at the number of NFL prospects that the University of Southern California has produced over the past five seasons to see the impact they’ve made on the NFL. Having sent 40 prospects to the NFL via the draft over the past five seasons — or put in another way — three more than Oregon, Stanford and UCLA have sent combined during the same time period, it is quite clear which team is the dominant producer of NFL talent in the Pac-12 conference.
My point: Nothing in the universe of college football changed today. Martell is no closer to a football scholarship to Washington than he was yesterday, nor is he bound in any way to go to Washington. I wrote the same when David Sills committed to USC as a 13-year-old in 2010. Utterly meaningless. I continue to believe the odds are remote that Sills will ever play quarterback at USC. So why does this happen? The best answer is also the worst: Why not? Just because a gesture is meaningless doesn’t mean it won’t produce a momentary media tempest in a teapot. The other answer is this: Steve Clarkson, prep quarterbacks guru, loves publicity.
“A USC athlete has won a gold medal in every single Summer Games since 1904,” said Oxford Prof. Walter Ladwig. “Some of the guests we have here tonight have a big burden on their shoulders to keep that streak from being broken in 2012.”
USC will open its men’s basketball season Nov. 9 at the Galen Center against Coppin State — but the going gets considerably tougher from there. The Trojans, coming off an injury-plagued 6-26 season, play 18 games against teams that won 20 or more games last season. USC’s home schedule includes nonconference games against Long Beach State (Nov. 13), San Diego State (Nov. 25), Minnesota (Dec. 8), UC Riverside (Dec. 15), UC Irvine (Dec. 20) and Dayton (Dec. 30).