Genaro C. Armas, Associated Press
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Backup Penn State safety Tim Buckley has become the first player to transfer from Penn State in the wake of NCAA sanctions, while the future of a more prominent player, star tailback Silas Redd, remains in question.
Redd, a 1,200-yard rusher who would be a focal point of O'Brien's reconfigured Penn State offense, visited Southern California over the weekend. Another good season could have the junior with the dazzling open-field spin move headed to the NFL draft a year early next spring.
Still, the majority of coach Bill O'Brien's core players appear to be sticking with Penn State, determined to weather out what could be a stormy season after the NCAA meted out landmark punishments on the program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
O'Brien said at Big Ten media days last week in Chicago that more than 50 players have re-affirmed their commitment to Penn State, though he did expect some transfers. Two Class of 2013 recruits have de-committed over the last week, but six prospects visited O'Brien over the weekend before standing by their verbal commitments.
"We have a really unique opportunity at Penn State to do something really special," one of the six recruits, Cedar Cliff High senior Adam Breneman, said in a phone interview. Breneman, of Camp Hill, Pa., is considered one of the top tight end prospects in the country.
"We have a chance to bring a community together. We have a chance to be remembered for a long time and give a community hope."
Buckley won't be part of Breneman's future team. North Carolina State released a statement Monday announcing Buckley, a North Carolina native, would join the Wolfpack for the team's first practice Tuesday.
The former walk-on redshirted last season at Penn State, so he'll have four years of eligibility left.
"The opportunity to come here and play at my state university, so close to home, was something that I couldn't pass up," Buckley said in the statement that made no mention of the scandal.
Other Nittany Lions appear to be at least looking around, most notably Redd.
He voiced support for former coach Joe Paterno as late as two weeks ago, after former FBI director Louis Freeh released the results of his investigation in the Sandusky scandal for the university. Freeh said Paterno, who died in January, and three other school officials concealed allegations against Sandusky — conclusions vehemently denied by Paterno's family and the officials.
"It has nothing to do with us," Redd had said about the findings. Penn State later handed the results of Freeh's investigation to the NCAA.
Redd had also said his opinion of Paterno, the coach that recruited him to Penn State, hadn't changed. He said Paterno, in his view, remained "the best college football coach of all time."
Since then, the NCAA banned Penn State from postseason play for the next four seasons, including the last two years of Redd's eligibility. College sports' governing body is allowing Redd and all other Nittany Lions to transfer to another school and get on the field right away.
The only restriction is they cannot practice or play with Penn State this year and still play for another school this season, meaning the Penn State roster should finally be set once training camp starts in a week.
But the process sets up college version of NFL free agency, in which other schools have been busy trying to cherry-pick Nittany Lions.
USC could be a landing spot if Redd decides to leave. With an offense led by quarterback Matt Barkley, the Trojans will be highly ranked and one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 Conference.
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