Elite running back commits to Penn State
By Philip Cmor firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: May 3, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK -- Silas Redd loves PlayStation 3, and he's issuing out a challenge.
"I'm calling it. Anybody want to play me in PS3, any sports game -- doesn't matter, hockey or whatever -- I'll beat you,'' Redd said.
Penn State football players beware, Redd is bringing his video games to University Park. Nittany Lion opponents, he's bringing his football game with him.
Redd, the highly-touted 5-foot-10, 191-pound prep running back from Stamford, Conn., scheduled a meeting with Coach Joe Paterno first thing this morning to give the Lions his verbal commitment. Redd and his parents were in State College Saturday for the Nike Football Training Camp and stayed overnight so he could make his pledge.
"I'm glad he's one of my guys,'' Sto-Rox quarterback Paul Jones, who committed to Penn State in January, said of Redd.
Redd is the fourth recruit in a 2010 class expected to number around 18.
Redd's father, also named Silas, possesses an iron handshake that his son calls the "grip of death,'' and it seems Penn State long had just as firm a hold on the younger Redd. The Lions had been considered the heavy front-runner for quite a while to secure Redd's services over Boston College, Stanford, Oregon and seven other programs that offered him scholarships.
"I've been wanting to go here since I was 7. Why? I don't know. But getting the scholarship was a dream come true,'' Redd said. "One of my first Pop Warner coaches went here, played here, and I guess he just instilled in me when I was a young kid that I like Penn State, and it just stuck.''
In fact, Redd's room is decorated with Nittany Lion memorabilia.
"I've got a few posters, a few autographs here and there. I've got LaVar Arrington's autograph, Ki-Jana Carter, Chuck Fusina,'' Redd said. "My coach would get me the paraphernalia. I've been coming to camps here since eighth grade.''
Scout.com rates Redd as the No. 14 running back in the country, and Rivals.com has him as a four-star recruit. Last season, Redd, an extremely-muscular back who has timed at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash and is best known for his foot quickness and change of direction, rushed for 1,350 yards and 14 touchdowns on 122 carries for King & Low Heywood-Thomas High School.
"He's very agile, quick. He never stops running. He flies out,'' said Stamford High School's Khairi Fortt, one of the top-ranked linebackers in the nation and Redd's workout partner back home. "I didn't get to go up against him in the one-on-one drills [Saturday], but I knew that was going to be a fight. He's very quick.''
Fortt also described Redd as a very motivated, determined competitor, mentioning how Redd passed up an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Combine as a defensive back because he was adamant on playing offense at the next level. Penn State, in fact, initially recruited him as a cornerback, and Redd said the Lion coaches' decision to take him as a running back played a big part in his early commitment.
"The only thing that was holding me back before was that they were going to stick me at corner,'' Redd said. "I'm better on the offensive side of the ball. I guess they went over some film and said, 'Hey, we like this guy at running back.'''
The 17-year-old Redd, who plans to major in business and eventually get a master's degree in finance, said another factor in pulling the trigger so early was so he can better enjoy his senior year without the stress of recruiting. Like Jones, Redd plans to enroll at Penn State in January.
Redd is a former lacrosse and basketball player. When he's not playing, he said he likes the performing arts, spending time with his friends and girlfriend and watching movies. However, he's at least got one new activity on his plate now -- getting Fortt to join him.
"I work on him everyday. We're good, good friends. I'm always in his ear saying, 'Hey, I know you want to go to Penn State. You're just too scared to say it,''' Redd said. "I think I got him.''