2011 wasn’t just the year that Joe Paterno could decide between Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin or the year we became aware of the biggest sports scandal ever known to mankind. It was also Silas Redd’s most successful season as a tailback. During the tumultuous campaign, the sophomore rushed for 1,241 yards on 244 carries while looking like a future NFL star.
The unsettled situation at quarterback made running the ball very important in 2011, and Redd delivered with five straight 100-yard efforts in October, during which Penn State improved its record from 3-1 to 8-1 and set its sights on the Big Ten Championship Game. The Jerry Sandusky scandal derailed the Lions’ title quest in November, but Redd still had a chance to become a Penn State legend by sticking around for one or two more seasons.
Instead, he took advantage of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State and transferred to USC, where he figured to raise his NFL profile while playing alongside Matt Barkley in an explosive Trojan offense. Redd had a nice junior season in the Pac-12, but he was far from a bell cow, only racking up 905 yards on 167 carries.
In 2013, Redd was hampered by a knee injury and only played in six games for USC, but he still found his way onto an NFL roster in 2014 by signing with Washington as an undrafted free agent and earning the third-string tailback job in training camp. Unfortunately, Redd’s NFL career ended after just one season due to an ACL and MCL tear that he suffered before the 2015 campaign. Interestingly, the Connecticut native tried to become a rugby player earlier this year, but he’s since decided to take a job with the NFL in Los Angeles.
Maybe Redd’s career would have gone differently if he had stayed at Penn State, and maybe it wouldn’t have. He almost certainly would have played a larger role for the Lions than he did with USC, seeing as how the 2012 and 2013 Bill O’Brien teams were led in carries by Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton.
Only 25 days until Penn State beats Appalachian State!