Silas Redd walked across the field after USC's first practice of training camp Monday night and was greeted by a phalanx of reporters wielding notepads, recording devices and cameras.
"Thanks, everybody," he said, smiling widely, "for wanting to talk to me."
After a whirlwind recruitment that saw him leave Penn State for USC, Redd was speaking publicly for the first time since his departure last week from a program that was hit with NCAA sanctions.
But first, he demonstrated on the field why Coach Lane Kiffin had pursued him so intently.
The junior, wearing No.25, was one of the first players through the gate at Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field for the start of the workout and was in constant motion throughout a no-pads practice that lasted about 21/2 hours.
Redd ran with power — "I went the wrong way a couple times," he said — and was quick to fist-bump teammates who made good plays.
Redd said he had a great experience at Penn State and was thankful for the opportunities he was afforded there.
"I'm opening a new chapter of my life," he said. "I'm a Trojan now."
Kiffin said "so far, so good" when asked to assess Redd's first-day performance.
"I thought his prep was really top-notch," Kiffin said.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Redd joins a tailback corps that includes returning starter Curtis McNeal, third-year sophomore D.J. Morgan, redshirt freshman Javorious Allen and several walk-ons.
Redd rushed for 1,241 yards and seven touchdowns in 244 carries last season.
He is not expected to get near that workload in a backfield that includes McNeal, who rushed for 1,005 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Redd said he made a "business decision" to come to USC, that Kiffin told him he would get a "fair shot" to start for the Trojans and that other running backs had welcomed him to the fold.
"No animosity or hard feelings," Redd said. "Football is football."
McNeal appeared fit and made several impressive runs.
"I thought Curtis looked great today," Kiffin said.
The Trojans have moved into $70-million John McKay Center, which is just across the street from the practice facility. The building will be formally dedicated on Aug. 21. . . . Cornerback Isiah Wiley and linebacker Marquis Simmons did not practice because they are awaiting grades from summer classes, and receiver Darreus Rogers didn't practice because he is awaiting clearance from the NCAA Eligibility Center, Kiffin said. . . . Freshman Leonard Williams worked at tackle, sophomore J.R. Tavai at end as USC searches for depth after end Devon Kennard's chest surgery, which is expected to keep him sidelined for much or all of the season. . . . Safety Jawanza Starling and cornerback Anthony Brown intercepted passes by Matt Barkley. . . . Charles Burks has moved from defensive line to fullback.