Penn State 2013 recruits stay committed - for now

Adam Breneman
Adam Breneman
Posted: July 30, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - On the same day Silas Redd soaked up the Los Angeles sun with University of Southern California coaches, Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg sat across the table from each other eating ice cream.

After pushing together two metal tables outside the Berkey Creamery, the Hackenberg family and Breneman and his father finally had time to catch up away from the football facility. And they did so with little distraction.

In a few years, they may be the face of a program saved - a quarterback-tight end combination that fans here have compared to the Patriots' Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. But on Saturday afternoon, they blended in with other families of prospective students eating ice cream from the campus staple.

After four hours of informal meetings inside Penn State's Lasch Football Building with head coach Bill O'Brien and his assistants, and the families of four other commits, the key prizes of Penn State's Class of 2013 got a chance to quietly get away.

Breneman orchestrated the six player meet-up with coaches and parents so that both sides could have open dialogue together for the first time since the Penn State sanctions were announced Monday morning.

"It went really well," Breneman said. "I'm 100 percent confident that all six of those guys are committed to Penn State."

Members of the Class of 2013 (soon to be high school seniors) can only orally commit to a school before officially signing in February.

After the meetings, Hackenberg said he remained committed to Penn State, before adding "for now."

Hackenberg has received offers from nearly a dozen schools. After the sanctions were announced, Hackenberg began taking the offers from other schools more seriously.

Breneman is the top-rated tight end in the country in his class, according to scouting services. Hackenberg is one of the top-rated pro-style quarterbacks. If Penn State could get both of them to sign in February, it would be a great get for nearly any program, let alone one that won't be heading to a bowl game the next four years.

"It went well," Hackenberg said. "I feel great about everything, including the coaching staff."

Shortly after the meeting between players and coaches ended, Redd, the star running back from last season's Penn State squad, was expected to meet with USC coach Lane Kiffin. His transcripts were reportedly sent to USC Friday and he is eligible to transfer to the Trojans without penalty as part of the NCAA sanctions. A decision from him is expected Monday.

Hackenberg's decision will take longer. Other schools can still contact him until February's signing day. Just look at Breneman, who despite being very open about his strong commitment to PSU, has still been contacted by "about 30 schools" in the last week.

"I'm 100 percent committed to Penn State," Breneman said.

From text messages, he learned four-star defensive end Garrett Sickels and four-star offensive tackle Brendan Mahon were planning a trip to Penn State for the end of this week.

Breneman said he talks with Hackenberg every day and the two had been planning a trip here for Saturday. So Breneman reached out to Sickels and Mahon and other oral commits. Within hours, he had six commits coming, including three-star offensive lineman Andrew Nelson and three-star wide receiver Will Fuller, a Philadelphia product.

"Breneman deserves a lot of credit," Nelson said. "We talked today and we're sticking together and that's the big thing."

Breneman, of Camp Hill, said he has become best friends with Hackenberg, a Virginia native, even though they see each only other about once a month.

"I like the Brady-Gronkowsi comparison between us," Breneman said. "I hope we can do that. I hope we can set records together and win games."

If Breneman's dreams come true, he and Hackenberg have had their last undisturbed ice cream just blocks from Beaver Stadium together.


Contact Chad Graff

at cgraff@philly.com and follow him on Twitter @ChadGraff

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