Penn State Football: How the 2012 Recruiting Class Will Rebuild the Program

Colin Tansits@@colin_tansitsContributor IFebruary 13, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, PA - OCTOBER 27: A general view as the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on October 27, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Ohio State Buckeyes won, 35-23. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Last week coach Bill O’Brien and Penn State officially signed some of the most important athletes for the future of the program.

The Nittany Lions’ 2012 recruiting class is one of the best to come to Happy Valley in a while.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman highlight O’Brien’s first class under NCAA sanctions.

Not since 2006 with J.B. Walton and Maurice Evans has Penn State signed two players ranked No. 1 at their position.

Both Hackenberg and Breneman are ranked as the top players at their positions.

Aside from those two, Penn State is bringing in other quality players.

Brendan Mahon, Garrett Sickels, Andrew Nelson and DaeSean Hamilton are other players who can also make an early impact for the Lions.

But talented recruiting classes don’t always equal success.

A mixture of things including attitude, maturity and intelligence are important, along with talent and athletic ability.

This is where this class will shine; it is full of high-character players.

Before the NCAA placed a bowl ban and scholarship sanctions on Penn State, Hackenberg and Breneman amongst others were already committed to play in Happy Valley.

Neither Breneman nor Hackenberg flinched at the sanctions. Rather they publicly supported O’Brien and the direction he was taking the program that had fallen from grace.

Every member of the 2012 recruiting class showed maturity by sticking to their commitment, knowing that they might never get a chance to play in a bowl game.

O’Brien has said that he only recruits “high-character” players, and the recruiting class coming to Penn State for the 2013 season is full of high-character players.

The senior class demonstrated tremendous leadership during the 2012 season, and this recruiting class seems to fit right into the close-knit team environment.

This recruiting class will rebuild Penn State and bring the program back to success for a few reasons.

Top talent at key positions in O’Brien’s offense such as quarterback, tight end and offensive guard will add to the pieces that the Lions have started to build.

On the offensive line, Mahon and sophomore Donovan Smith will create a big line with serious talent to block for a pocket passer in Hackenberg.

Hackenberg has all the tools to become one of the nation’s top passers in the future.

With what O’Brien did with Matt McGloin in 2012, the future is certainly bright for Penn State’s offense.

It will be important for many of these players, who are coming in with an opportunity for early playing time, to be mature and to learn the plays on offense and defense.

Breneman and four other players are already enrolled in classes in Happy Valley, so these recruits have a head start on assimilating with the team.

In the end though, the 2013 class will rebuild this program because it is led by a group of high-talent and high-character student athletes that believe in what O’Brien is doing.

Hackenberg, Breneman, Mahon, Sickels, Nelson and Hamilton all have the talent to help Penn State return to the top of the B1G.


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