Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg Talk Penn State
As the Jerry Sandusky trial came and went, many outside of Penn State University were talking about the decline of the football program and of the school. For people inside the community, however, it has almost become a mission to become tighter and stronger.
Two of the people that symbolize that resurgence won’t even step foot on campus until 2013 – but they certainly have helped galvanize the football program and in some ways, the university as a whole. Certainly, they understand that football can’t wipe out the tragedies of what happened. But they also understand the role football plays on campus and throughout the community.
Penn State recruits Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg are just two of 13 verbal commits so far for the 2013 recruiting class – but they have become the leaders of the class and symbols of the school moving past the horror of the last eight months.
“Christian and I have taken the role of being the leaders of this class,” said Breneman while watching Hackenberg and his younger brother at the Elite 25 Quarterback Showcase in Lancaster Friday. “It takes a different kind of player to be part of this and we want to be difference makers.”
Currently, the Nittany Lions have a top 10-15 recruiting class – depending on what rankings you look at.
“If you look on Twitter under the hashtag “Restore the Roar” – that’s us and that’s what we want to do. We’re not done yet, our goal is to have a top five class.”
Hackenberg echoed those statements.
“We started off really good and now we picked up steam again with the addition of Dorian Johnson and Zach Bradshaw,” said Hackenberg, who was also at the Lancaster QB Showcase. “We have had a lot of success and we want to be the ones that bring back that pride.”
Hackenberg had an outstanding Rivals100 Challenge last weekend in Atlanta and is now preparing for the Elite 11 camp in California.
“There’s a new energy with the program,” said Hackenberg, who was born in Tamaqua, Pa. and grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania before moving to Virginia. “Coach O’Brien has brought that and he’s the biggest reason I’m going to Penn State.”
Neither Hackenberg nor Breneman are concerned what others think or say about the program. They have formed their own ideas.
“Outsiders don’t understand what it means to be a Penn Stater,” Breneman said. “I grew up as a Penn State fan and had to separate that when making my decision. I’ve gotten some hate mail and heard all the nasty comments and jokes. But those people just don’t get it. One guy will not tear the university down.”
Hackenberg preparing for competitions
Hackenberg, 6-4, 215, attends Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va. and is listed as a four-star recruit by both Rivals and Scout and is ranked as the No. 1 quarterback in the nation by ESPN. He has been to camps and competitions all over the country this spring and summer and has continued to receive rave reviews.
“It’s just an honor,” he said. “I’ve been blessed with ability and I just want to make the best of it.”
Next up for the quarterback will be the Elite 11 camp, which is led by head coach Trent Dilfer of ESPN and will be televised by ESPN. The camp is July 18-22 in Redondo Beach, Cal.
Hackenberg has seen last year’s camp on DVD and knows he has to prepare.
“I just got the playbook and it’s not easy but that’s the biggest thing I have to do to get ready. I have to learn that playbook.”
Breneman eyeing recovery
Breneman, 6-5, 228 and the No. 1 ranked tight end in the nation according to Rivals.com, tore his ACL in a non-contact drill before a 7-on-7 tournament last month. He was walking normally Friday with a sleeve on his knee. He is scheduled to have surgery July 10 by Penn State doctor Wayne Sebastianelli.
“I have been riding a stationary bike and walking on a treadmill,” Breneman said. “They wanted to wait that long to make sure all the swelling went down.”
Breneman said he plans to be enrolled and on the Penn State campus by Jan. 5 so he can take part in spring practice and maybe even be ready for the Blue-White game.
Breneman will miss playing his senior season at Cedar Cliff High but plans to be as big part of the team.
“I guess I’ll be a player-coach,” he said half jokingly. “I’m going to help both the offense an defense and I’m going to learn all the signals this summer so I can help during the game.”
Christian Hackenberg #1 Quarterback - Highlights
Penn State Finishing up a Strong Recruiting Class
As we head into the NCAA’s recruiting dead period this week, it’s hard to imagine that Penn State could’ve had a better postseason so far.
The Nittany Lions have added five recruits since topping Wisconsin in the season finale. Zayd Issah, Jonathan Walton, DaeSean Hamilton and Anthony Smith all committed on the Sunday of the recruiting weekend two weeks ago and junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson committed Friday.
Yes, Penn State suffered a bit of a setback when Iowa Western quarterback Jake Waters surprised most people by picking Kansas State. But it only took one day for Bill O’Brien and his staff to target and snag Ferguson.
Most analysts feel Issah, a three-star linebacker from Central Dauphin, is the cream of the latest commitments but Hamilton is highly touted as well. And Ferguson, at the very least, will add much needed depth to the quarterback position. Before Ferguson’s verbal, Steven Bench was the only scholarship QB on the roster heading in to spring practice.
The recent additions bring Penn State’s recruiting class to 18. Where the class ranks, depends on what service you look at.
Rivals ranks the class as No. 36; 247 Sports ranks the Nittany Lions’ class at No. 16; Scout.com ranks Penn State at 33 and ESPN ranks Penn State as the No. 24 class.
As has been previously stated five members of the class will enroll in January and count against the 2012 class total.
Those five January enrollees include Ferguson, Adam Breneman, Richy Anderson, Jordan Smith and Anthony Smith.
That leaves the 2013 class total at 13 – meaning there are still two scholarships to hand out.
Speculation on who might fill those two spots centers around Deondre Singleton, a two-star defensive back from Lawrenceville, Ga., Tyler Boyd, who just helped lead Clairton to a PIAA Class A state championship and Garret Dooley, a three-star linebacker from Illinois.
Dooley is a Wisconsin commit but the Badgers staff has been totally ripped since Bret Bielema left for Arkansas. Dooley, understandably, wants to see who gets named coach at Wisconsin before making a decision.
Singleton’s other offers are from Duke, Marshall and Appalachian State so it wouldn’t be hard to see him taking PSU’s offer.
Boyd is a highly sought after four-star wide receiver that has 17 offers. Penn State is still going after him hard although the Lions probably aren’t the favorite at this point.
Other players Penn State is still targeting include four-star running back David Williams from Philadelphia and four-star linebacker Trey Johnson from Lawrenceville, Ga. It would hard to classify Penn State as anything but long shots for either player.
If the Lions only get one of these additional players, it’s probably a good bet that the staff holds at least one scholarship for an early enrollee next year.
Currently, the Penn State class consists of: Richy Anderson (RB), Brandon Bell (LB), Adam Breneman (TE), Curtis Cothran (DE), Parker Cothren (DE), Tyler Ferguson (QB), Kasey Gaines (DB), Christian Hackenberg (QB), DaeSean Hamilton (WR), Tanner Hartman (OL), Zayd Issah (LB), Brendan Mahon (OL), Andrew Nelson (OL), Neiko Robinson (DB), Garrett Sickels (DE), Anthony Smith (DB), Jordan Smith (DB) and Jonathan Walton (LB).