13 August 2016
Tight end Adam Breneman was one of the key recruits secured by former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien in the Class of 2012. Injuries would get in the way of what would have been a dynamic career with the Nittany Lions and it was thought Breneman had been forced into early retirement from the game. However, this fall, Breneman will return to the college football field, although not with the Nittany Lions.
On Tuesday, Breneman announced (via Twitter) he will be playing football for the UMass Minutemen. Breneman is a graduate transfer, making him eligible to play immediately this fall for the independent program. Breneman noted he still had a desire to try playing football after a few months away from the game. At UMass, Breneman will be surrounded by a few familiar faces, with former Penn State quarterback Austin Whipple and high school teammate Andrew Ford. UMass is also coached by Mark Whipple, a former head coach of the program who has since gained some NFL experience as an assistant coach. It looks to be a pretty decent situation for Breneman, all things considered. Many NCAA football expert picks have UMass performing well this season after the acquisition of Breneman.
"I will always treasure my time at Penn State and the support the fans, coaches, and teammates have given me as I chase my dream of playing football at the top level," Breneman said in a statement shared on Twitter. "I will bleed blue and white forever and I will always be proud of the battles we won at PSU, on and off the field."
Breneman's commitment to Penn State was a noteworthy one at the time. In the aftermath of the Freeh Report's release, Breneman and quarterback Christian Hackenberg were faced with the decision to follow through on a commitment to a program that, at the time, was likely to never play in a bowl game during their college years, or pursue other opportunities. Both decided to stick to their commitments in the end and the two became immediate leaders of the Class of 2012. It helped keep the class and recruiting efforts as together as possible at the time.
At UMass, Breneman will continue his education as he works for his MBA in the Isenberg School of Management. On the football field, Breneman will have the opportunity to go up against some big name programs, which could help with any potential NFL Draft stock down the line if things work out. UMass opens the year on the road against Florida and then plays Boston College and Mississippi State in September. Breneman and the Minutemen head to South Carolina in October and make a trip out to Provo, Utah to play BYU. A trip to Hawaii comes at the end of the regular season, which should also be nice.
Breneman has been nothing but an exceptional example of class and integrity while at Penn State, and that will surely continue as he heads up to UMass.