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All eyes on Redd

The list of players that have announced their intentions to stay at Penn State in the face of heavy NCAA sanctions has been almost unbelievable. So far, not one current Nittany has officially announced that he will be headed elsewhere for camp in August.

For now, however, that isn't the story.

All eyes are securely focused on star running back Silas Redd, who has been linked to USC over the last few days. Reports say that Redd will visit Los Angeles this weekend.

Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien skirted the question on Friday during his morning session at the Big Ten kickoff in Chicago.

"The whole team, except for maybe two or three guys. Our best players… the core group of our best players, as I sit here right now, have told me that they're coming back," he said.

When asked if star running back Redd was part of that group, O'Brien repeated, "Our core group of our best players have told me that they're coming back."

Later in the session, O'Brien said that he had met with Redd and his family a few days ago, and that the junior tailback could be an integral part of his offense this fall should he choose to return.

"He's a big part of our team," said O'Brien. "He's our starting running back."

Redd's decision aside, the majority of Penn State's 2012 roster is expected to remain intact.

"We have pretty much everybody staying, that just says so much to everyone in the public, everyone at the NCAA, that this place is still what it was," said linebacker Michael Mauti, one of three players representing the Nittany Lions in Chicago. "We really care about this program and one man isn't going to take this thing down. No one is going to tear us apart, no matter what happens."

Mauti and Michael Zordich have joined O'Brien in doing what they can to keep Penn State's current players in Happy Valley.

"We've sat up in Coach O'Brien's office every time this week. Anybody that was on the fence, they got a call from us," said Mauti. "They got a call from Coach O'Brien, or a call from any alumni or any active players on an NFL roster, you name it.

"We really pulled out a lot of stops. Not because we want to have a good season this year, that's not what it's about. Of course we want to have a good season, but this is about more than that. They've given us every opportunity to tear this thing apart, it's set up that way.

"There's just so many intangibles that go into a situation like this. Guys have to stick together through adversity and we have the opportunity to show people what I said on Wednesday, one man didn't build this thing, and one man sure as hell ain't going to take it down."

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