Thanks to NCAA sanctions leveled against the football program, Penn State is bracing itself for the loss of its top returning offensive player as well as (maybe) a handful of other current players. On top of that, at least one verbal member of the Nittany Lions’ 2013 recruiting class has already decomitted.
Tight end Adam Breneman, the top commit in that class, though, reiterated his commitment to the Nittany Lions shortly after the punitive measures were announced. On Saturday, nearly a half-dozen of his fellow class members followed suit.
Saturday, Breneman — along with Virginia quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Hershey offensive tackle Andrew Nelson, Philadelphia Roman Catholic wide receiver Will Fuller, New Jersey offensive lineman Brendan Mahon and New Jersey defensive end Garrett Sickels — met with first-year head coach Bill O’ Brien and his coaching staff throughout the day, with O’ Brien and his assistants, the Patriot-News wrote, “talking with each other about the NCAA sanctions imposed on the Nittany Lions’ football program earlier in the week.”
During those meetings, all six of the commits confirmed that they remain committed to being members of PSU’s recruiting class next February.
“This was important for half of our recruiting class to get together and talk things over. Our class is really tight,” Breneman told the paper. “It was not only good to meet with the coaches, but to just around and talk things over with each other.”
Breneman acknowledged that he and the other recruits came into the meetings having second thoughts about keeping true to their verbal commitments. With O’Brien and his staff setting their collective minds at ease, however, the six players had no problem walking into O’ Brien’s office halfway through the day yesterday and confirming their allegiance to the school.
“Publicly we were saying the right things, but we were all having second thoughts including myself,” Breneman said. “Coach O’Brien addressed all the negatives with us, and we all talked about them. We all have offers from other big schools like Alabama, Auburn and other SEC schools. But we believe in coach O’Brien and his staff.
“We could go to those other big schools, or we could come here and help a community and a university heal. I can tell you Penn State should be proud of this 2013 class. It was an emotional day. We’re so happy we all feel Penn State is the best place for us.”