USC senior tailback Silas Redd has had to deal with more than his fair share of trials and tribulations over the course of the last year and a half.
First came the NCAA sanctions handed down to Penn State in the summer of 2012 following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Redd, a Norwalk, Conn., native, had emerged as one of the Big Ten’s top rushers.
Then, after transferring to USC and leading the team with 905 rushing yards in 2012, Redd tore meniscus in his left knee last spring. Coupled with two surgical procedures, that has kept him from playing so far this season.
Throw in the recent firing of Lane Kiffin – who played a significant role in bringing Redd to USC – and it seems like not much has gone according to plan.
To his credit, Redd has remained positive throughout, his focus centered on moving forward.
“God gives the hardest battles to the strongest soldiers,” Redd said.
And strength is something that Redd knows plenty about, not to mention perseverance – a fact made obvious during the team’s two-hour practice on Sunday afternoon. After months of hard work, he appeared to pass a major test. Running fast and without hesitation, the 5-foot-10, 200-pound rusher made it through the entirety of the workout – contact drills and all – and shined at times.
Following practice, USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron said that he thought that Redd “looked pretty good,” and that he ran “the way we expect a back to run,” before cautiously designating him as “probable” for the team’s Thursday night matchup with Arizona.
But if Redd has any say in the matter at all, there’s no doubt that he’ll be making his 2013 debut against the Wildcats.
“I’m locked in for Thursday,” Redd said. “Mentally, physically, emotionally … I feel 100 percent back to normal. The knee feels strong, the muscles that surround my knee feel strong, so it was a pretty good day today.”
It will be interesting to see just where Redd fits into the tailback rotation. Tre Madden and Justin Davis – who is also listed as probable with an ankle injury – have carried the bulk of the load for the Trojans, and effectively. Madden is the No. 3 rusher (116.6 yards per game) in the Pac-12 this season, and Davis averages an impressive 7.4 yards per carry. A unit that also includes Javorius “Buck” Allen and Ty Isaac, Redd called the depth that the Trojans possess at the position “unbelievable,” but he also believes that there is room for him to make an impact.
“I know what kind of back I am and I know what skills I have,” Redd said. “I’m not being cocky; I just don’t think I can be kept off the field.”
And with his wealth of experience and proven talent, on top of the determination that he’s shown, there’s reason to believe that he just might be right.