Penn State Football: Why Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman Should Redshirt

John McGonigal@@jmcgonigal9Correspondent IIDecember 6, 2012

November 24, 2012;University Park, PA, USA; A general view of the stadium prior to the game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

There's really no doubt in anyone's mind that Christian Hackenberg and Adam Breneman are two of the most coveted recruits Penn State has had in recent memory.

And as the Scranton Times Tribune suggests, these two fellas could be as monumental as Derrick Williams back in 2004.

Williams, a multiple-threat athlete who was utilized as a kick returner and wide receiver, was the nation's No. 1 overall recruit less than a decade ago.

However, times have changed quite a bit since then at Happy Valley, and that's partially why Hackenberg and Breneman mean so much. But everyone who follows Penn State knows the reasons behind that, so let's stick to the gridiron.

Plain and simple, these two recruits have unending ceilings at the moment.

Hackenberg, a Virginia native, is ESPN's top quarterback in the 2013 class, and he proves why in videos like this.

The 6'4", 212-pound kid not only shows reliable accuracy and capable arm strength, but he also possesses uncanny poise and awareness in the pocket for a quarterback that young.

In Breneman's case, he too stands atop his position rankings at No. 1 in the country at tight end.

A big, dependable target in high school, the 6'4" Breneman makes quarterbacks' jobs so much easier. He'll fit right in at Penn State in Bill O'Brien's tight end-heavy offensive sets.

If I'm O'Brien, I simply cannot wait to bring these guys in, coach them up in my offensive scheme and see what they can do in a game.

Still, I think the smart thing to do would keep them on the practice field and wait until 2014 to see what they can do in a real game.

It's easier to make a case for Breneman to redshirt than it is for Hackenberg, but both have their own reasons.

In regards to Hackenberg, the Nittany Lions may need depth at the quarterback position. With starter Matthew McGloin and backups Shane McGregor and Garrett Venuto leaving due to graduation, Penn State will be left with just Steven Bench under center.

However, if the team is able to bring in JUCO signal-caller Jake Waters and a walk-on or two, Hackenberg may be able to save a year of eligibility.

While his tape suggests he is ready, the current senior in high school could probably use a year of tutelage under O'Brien before being thrust into the spotlight.

In his case, a redshirt would mean another year to develop his skills and become familiar with the playbook with less pressure on him.

When it comes to Breneman, it’s almost a no-brainer to redshirt him.

To say the injury bug caught Breneman at a bad time would be an understatement.

The No. 1 tight end recruit tore his right ACL in preseason practice—an injury that can take nine months or more to recover from.

By the time fall practice comes around, Breneman should be able to go based on that window, but why rush him back?

Not only do you want to avoid re-aggravating the injury, but Penn State isn’t in need of depth at tight end.

As long as no one transfers, the Lions will return pass-catching machines Kyle Carter, Jesse James and Matt Lehman.

Considering the trio combined for 1,025 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns this season, the Lions are pretty stacked at tight end, making it almost useless for Breneman to burn a year of eligibility so early.

And, of course, in both players’ cases, a year of redshirting means one thing is then achievable: a Big Ten title, a bowl appearance and more.

It’s obviously way too early to speculate on how the two would potentially do in a fifth year at the program, but it makes sense to ride it out next year for that reason, and the other reasons listed above.

Craving the moment Hackenberg and Breneman put on the blue and white jerseys, it makes sense that Penn State fans would want them to play right away.

But after stepping back and looking over it carefully, redshirting in 2013 is just common logic. 


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