Silas Redd is "leaning toward" transferring to USC, according to an ESPN report Monday, but Bill O'Brien will have one more crack at trying to convince the standout running back to stay at Penn State.
Redd is expected to meet with O'Brien today, then the junior will be faced with the toughest decision of his athletic career. He went to USC over the weekend, and all indications are the visit with Trojans coach Lane Kiffin went very well.
Kiffin tried to sell Redd on the impact he could make immediately at USC, which is expected to contend for a national title. The Trojans have an explosive offense led by potential Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Matt Barkley, but they don't have a big, durable running back like Redd.
Those who know Redd have said this is a very difficult decision for him.
"I definitely see that it's killing him because he wants to make the decision, and he just wants to make the best decision for himself and his family," PSU defensive tackle Jordan Hill, one of Redd's roommates, said Thursday at Big Ten media days.
Since the NCAA sanctions came down, O'Brien has made a point in every interview to talk about the positives at Penn State. He is expected to reiterate all of those - big crowds, being part of a new era, great education - when he speaks to Redd, plus he could have one big selling point for Redd in particular.
The junior running back is a team leader for the Nittany Lions, and if he spurns USC and stays at Penn State, he would in many ways cement his legacy as someone who will be widely respected for sticking it out through the tough times during the sanctions.
Then it will be up to Redd to determine what's most important to him, his family and for his career.
Redd was asked at the Lift for Life event two weeks ago what Penn State means to him.
"I think it's one of the best institutions academically and athletically in the nation," he said. "My view of that is never going to change [in light of the scandal]."
News and notes
The first Penn State player to officially transfer is walk-on redshirt freshman safety Tim Buckley, who revealed Monday he's headed to North Carolina State. Buckley played high school ball in Raleigh, N.C.
"I am excited to be a member of the N.C. State Wolfpack," Buckley, who redshirted in 2011, said in a statement from the school. "The opportunity to come here and play at my state university, so close to home, was something that I couldn't pass up."
Buckley was listed as the backup free safety to Malcolm Willis on PSU's summer depth