LOS ANGELES — Entering a season eligible to compete in the postseason for the first time in three years, a huge focus is on the USC football team as they opened Fall Camp on Monday night. The Trojans will enter the season as the No. 3 team in the nation in the preseason Coaches’ Poll.
However, with the spotlight on the USC program as they began Fall Camp, no light shined brighter than on new tailback Silas Redd.
The Penn State refugee lined up in the Trojans backfield on Monday night. No longer donning the blue and white of the Nittany Lions, he ran around Howard Jones Field in the Cardinal and Gold for the first time in his customary No. 25.
His presence in the backfield was a result of him making “a business decision,” and so far, he’s glad he made it.
“This is known as RBU,” said Redd acknowledging USC’s reputation for breeding top running backs. “So, I was excited to suit up.”
Focused on the future, Redd wanted to leave his past in the past Monday night. As he stood on the practice field, he made a statement reiterating that.
“My relationship with Penn State and everything was a great experience and they gave me some excellent opportunities but I’m opening a new chapter in my life and I’m a Trojan now,” Redd said.
As a Trojan, he’s comfortable. He’s been embraced by his “new family,” and possesses the characteristics similar to Matt Barkley, Marqise Lee, and Robert Woods that have allowed this to be a seamless transition so far, according to head coach Lane Kiffin.
“A big part was not just the player that you saw on film. In order for this to happen it had to fit right. It had to fit right both ways,” Kiffin said. “He’s a very competitive, great kid and that’s the only way this was going to work because I believe that our core of our great players, these preseason All-Americans, they’re really good kids that love competition and they love the work.
“If he was not like that, like if you signed a veteran free agent in the NFL and he’s that type of conflict guy, it would not have worked. These guys would not have accepted him and it wouldn’t have been worth it.”
Kiffin noticed how great of a fit it could when Redd came for his visit. He immediately fit in with his then-future teammates and even elected to spend the night at Matt Barkley and T.J. McDonald’s house instead of the hotel.
Of all the Trojans, there may not be a happier player about Redd’s decision to attend USC than freshman Nelson Agholor. Because of the lack of depth at running back, Agholor would have been forced to play there but with the addition of Redd, he can return to his natural wide receiver position.
Meanwhile, Kiffin was impressed with Redd’s preparation and how he’s been able to pick up the offense in a short time span. On a couple of plays, Redd “went the wrong way,” but that was to be expected, Kiffin says.
Unfazed by the hype surrounding the program and how it’s increased since his addition, Redd is taking the simple approach.
“Coming from where I came from,” Redd said. “I’m just ready to contribute.”