Silas Redd

Free-agency commences: USC reportedly interested in Silas Redd


Wading through the aftermath churned up in the wake of the NCAA’s sanctions on Penn State, we wrote that “the NCAA has declared it’s open season on any and all current or incoming Penn State players, essentially creating a free-agent frenzy that has the potential to utterly dwarf what transpired at USC three years ago.”‘s Bruce Feldman wrote that “a feeding frenzyhas already begun in major college football, with FBS programs openly — albeit anonymously — acknowledging that their programs have already faxed to Penn State the names of current players in which they’re interested.

Ironically enough, the first specific reference connecting a current PSU player to a potential transfer destination is to a school that, up until today’s penalties were announced, had faced the most punitive measures handed down by the NCAA since SMU’s death penalty.

As‘s Joe Schad writes, “USC has notified Penn State of its interest in running back Silas Redd.”


That, of course, would be the same USC that’s coming off a two-year bowl ban and a reduction of 30 scholarships over three years thanks to the Reggie Bush impermissible benefits fiasco.  And a Trojan program that saw, as a part of the NCAA’s punitive measures in that case, players who were either juniors or seniors in 2010 being permitted to transfer and play immediately at a new program.

A half-dozen or so Trojans took advantage of that loosening of transfer restrictions, none of them projected starters.  It remains unclear how many Nittany Lions, starters or otherwise, will take advantage of a similar loosening, although Penn State is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to that part of the punitive measures; any and all current players regardless of class standing as well as incoming freshmen are permitted to transfer without restriction.

The immediate eligibility for Redd, and the immediate need for help at the running back position for USC, however, would appear to make this speculation an on-paper match made in football heaven.  And a match that someone very close to Redd would not be adverse to in theory, with the back’s father reportedly stating that it’s his son’s decision whether or not to transfer and he will not stand in the way of whatever’s decided.

Last season, Redd led the Nittany Lions in rushing yards (1,241) and rushing touchdowns (nine).  So, yes, given a team with title aspirations and a glaring hole at the position, a player the caliber of Redd — with two years of eligibility remaining to boot — would make perfect sense to pursue.

Vols ‘very confident there was no inappropriate conduct’ between Butch Jones, player

KNOXVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers watches the action during a game against the Chattanooga Mocs at Neyland Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In the midst of reports that he had a physical altercation with one of his Tennessee players during summer camp this year, Butch Jones labeled the speculation “absolutely ridiculous.”

Apparently, his bosses agree with the head coach.

At a board meeting Thursday, UT-Knoxville chancellor Jimmy Cheek stated that he and athletic director Dave Hart had done their “due diligence” in investigating the accusations that Jones and senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder were involved in some type of physical skirmish during practice this past August.  The end result of interviews with Jones, coaches and players was the conclusion that there was nothing to the reports and message-board rumors.

“There’s been a lot of rumor and misinformation on social media and message boards about an alleged incident during football practice,” Cheek said according to‘s Wes Rucker. “It’s not our practice to respond to rumors, but I thought it was important to let you know that we’ve done our due diligence and Dave Hart and I are very confident there was no inappropriate conduct with any players or coaches.”

Shortly after Cheek spoke at the board meeting, Crowder took to Twitter with a series of missives that speaks around the issue.

Michigan’s keeping ‘fingers crossed’ for leading rusher’s availability

De'Veon Smith
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Michigan played without its leading rusher in Week 5.  The Wolverines are hoping there won’t be a repeat in Week 6.

De'Veon Smith sustained a lower-leg injury in the Week 4 win over BYU and didn’t travel with the team for last Saturday’s win over Maryland.  Smith has been practicing with his teammates throughout the first few days of this week, and head coach Jim Harbaugh is guardedly optimistic that the running back will be available for what’s turned into a huge Big Ten matchup with Northwestern Saturday in the Big House.

“He’s practicing and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he’s going to stay good and be ready to play,” Harbaugh said during a radio appearance Thursday morning. “But we’ll (keep) looking at that every day.”

Despite essentially missing a game and a half, Smith currently leads the Wolverines with 331 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. He’s added four receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown coming out of the backfield the first four games.

Should Smith be unable to go again, the Wolverines have three other backs with at least 100 yards on the ground: Ty Isaac (187, 7.2 yards per carry), Drake Johnson (125, 4.2 ypc) and Derrick Green (100, 3.3 ypc).

In addition to Smith, Harbaugh is hopeful Channing Stribling will be available this weekend as well.  The starting cornerback didn’t play against the Cougars because of injury