Former Penn St. starting QB to bolt

The first domino has fallen. Now the most important piece appears close to tipping as well.

Former starting quarterback Rob Bolden was reportedly released from his scholarship on Monday, making him the first Penn State football player to leave after the announcement of the NCAA sanctions against the school.

Meanwhile, the team's best offensive player, running back Silas Redd, spent another day at the University of Southern California. A decision on where he'll play football in 2012 is expected within the next two days.

Bolden appears set to transfer to Southeastern Conference powerhouse Louisiana State, which lost to Alabama in the national championship game last season. Bolden reportedly made an official visit to LSU during the weekend.

The quarterback went to Penn State as a highly touted, dual-threat recruit and became the first true freshman to start under center for Penn State's season opener in 100 years.

But Bolden suffered a concussion midway through his freshman season in 2010, and Matt McGloin eventually took over as the starting quarterback.

Last season, Bolden started the first seven games while splitting snaps with McGloin. In the eighth game, McGloin got the keys to the first-team offense and never looked back.

In 2010, Bolden completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,360 yards, five touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Last season, he completed less than 40 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (two).

After his freshman season, Bolden requested to be released from his scholarship. But then-coach Joe Paterno refused, so Bolden remained in State College for his sophomore season.

LSU appears confident in first-year starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger, but the program lacks depth at the position. The Tigers don't have another quarterback who has appeared in a college game.

The loss of Bolden likely won't affect Penn State much. After opening the last two seasons as the team's starter, Bolden was listed as the third-string QB on first-year coach Bill O'Brien's summer depth chart. McGloin is the starter and Paul Jones is the backup.

The real loss for the Nittany Lions would be Redd, who rushed for 1,241 yards last season as a sophomore.

Redd met with USC coach Lane Kiffin at Redd's home in Connecticut on Thursday before checking out the USC campus over the weekend. He reportedly left Los Angeles Monday and is expected to meet with O'Brien one last time before making a final decision.

ESPN reported that USC quarterback Matt Barkley — an early Heisman Trophy favorite — and wide receiver Robert Woods spent time with Redd, trying to persuade him to join the Trojans. The same report cited Redd as "leaning toward USC."

USC is the top preseason team according to several rankings. One of the Trojans' few clear needs is at running back. At USC, Redd would likely take over as the starter immediately and benefit from a talented offensive line and strong passing game.

Redd, a captain at Penn State, enters the fall as a junior, which means he has two seasons of eligibility remaining, though many have speculated that he is interested in forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

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