- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 1, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - Penn State’s loss could turn into a big gain for Southern California.

Star tailback Silas Redd bolted Happy Valley for Los Angeles in a season of great expectations for the Trojans. A 1,200-yard rusher, Redd will join heralded quarterback Matt Barkley on a team already favored to win the Pac-12 and return to the Rose Bowl.

It’s a perk that Redd wouldn’t have enjoyed at Penn State with the program burdened by harsh NCAA sanctions because of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Among the penalties was a four-year postseason ban, as well as a scholarship reduction.

Another Pac-12 school also took in a Nittany Lion on Wednesday as top reserve linebacker Khairi Fortt said he was transferring to California. Fortt, like Redd, is from Connecticut, and both players will have two years of eligibility left.

Fortt said in a statement issued through his father, Guy Fortt, that he reached a point in his life in which he “was ready for a change,” and that he had also seriously considered Cal in high school. The Stamford Advocate first reported Fortt’s decision.

“He will miss Penn State,” Guy Fortt said.

In light of the sanctions, the NCAA is allowing Nittany Lion players to seek new schools and play immediately, so long as they leave by the start of Penn State training camp next Monday.

Since the sanctions were imposed last week, Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien has been trying to keep the team intact by stressing academics, family and the prospect of playing seven home games a year in front of a crowd of 108,000 strong at Beaver Stadium.

For the most part, it seems to have worked _ even though Redd’s departure will be a serious blow to an offense being reconfigured by O’Brien, the former coordinator of the New England Patriots’ high-powered attack.

Four players have now left Penn State since the NCAA imposed its landmark penalties on July 23. A fifth player, third-string quarterback Rob Bolden, was removed from the roster this week but had been granted permission to talk to other schools before the sanctions. Bolden, who fell out of favor with two coaching staffs at Penn State, drew heavy interest from LSU, and on Wednesday, Tigers coach Les Miles confirmed the quarterback has made the transfer official.

Miles said Bolden “is talented and will be given every opportunity to compete.”

Otherwise, Redd and Fortt are the ones who logged significant playing time leaving Penn State. At least so far.

O'Brien had also said last week at Big Ten media days that more than 50 players had indicated they would stay. Six 2013 recruits have also reaffirmed their verbal commitments.

The community has been doing its part as well. An early-morning rally on Tuesday attracted more than 2,500 fans who cheered on their team as walked into a voluntary, offseason workout.

Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner wished Redd and the other transfers well. “I think that certainly we understand and it’s within their purview,” Joyner said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Story Continues →