Penn State's newest commitment, four-star tight end and Rivals100 member Adam Breneman, joined BWI publisher Phil Grosz and Jed Donahue Monday night for an extended interview.
Listen to the complete interview by clicking the link or read the entire transcript below.
Phil: How did you enjoy your press conference on Friday evening?
Adam: Thanks for having me. It was a great time. It was in front of a packed gym. I'll tell you, there were Penn State fans there around 5:15 and the press conference didn't start until 7. It was a crazy night.
Phil: Did you expect anything like that?
Adam: It was an awesome experience. I know going into it, we were expecting about 300 people to be there and I think we had close to 600. And I heard there were a few thousand watching it online. So, it was definitely in front of a lot of people. It was a little bit nervewracking, but it was a great night.
Phil: Did the Jerry Sandusky scandal cast doubts in your mind about Penn State? How did the situation evolve with Bill O'Brien named the new coach?
Adam: Penn State has not been the No. 1 school on my list the entire process. I really liked the previous coaching staff. I had a great relationship with all those coaches, but I had some concerns about the way that they used the tight end in the offense. So, I wasn't necessarily as high on them as many people might have thought. Throughout the whole process, I was trying to do my best to separate being a fan of Penn State and being a player at Penn State. Sometimes that can be hard to do, especially going on visits and seeing Beaver Stadium filled. All those were great experiences, but, once Coach O'Brien was hired, I was really excited. I watched his press conference and he reached out to me pretty soon after he was hired and then we scheduled a visit up there. I think it was Feb. 17 that I visited for the day with my family and we just had a great time. I really clicked with Coach O'Brien and it was after that where I kind of realized that Penn State is where I want to be.
Jed: Talk about following in Kyle Brady's footsteps to Penn State.
Adam: He's been great. He lives in Jacksonville right now, but he came up for a week last spring and my dad and I had lunch with him. I got to spend some time with him, and he said when he comes back up this spring, he's going to run some routes with me and workout a little bit. But, he's been great. To have a role model like that... I think he might have been the highest draft pick ever as a tight end and one of the best to come from my high school, it's a great relationship to have.
Jed: When you watched the Super Bowl, did you have more interest seeing how the tight ends were used?
Adam: Definitely. I paid close attention to Coach O'Brien and the Patriots and the tight ends for the Patriots. I know he's one of the best at using the tight ends, obviously with what he did at New England with Gronkowski and Hernandez. Then, on our visit there on the 17th, being able to sit down with him and watch some film on the Patriots and showing me how I would be used in the offense, kind of in the Aaron Hernandez role was really exciting.
Phil: How impressed were you that Coach O'Brien and staff invited you and your family up by yourselves with Coach Cantafio and focused on you completely? What did that say to you about what Penn State felt about you?
Adam: It was very impressive to know that they were making me such a big priority in the class. There was actually a conflict where I couldn't make it to the junior day because of a family commitment that I had, so it was really nice of Coach O'Brien and the staff to spend the day with us. I know what the campus is like, I know what the facilities are like, I just really wanted to spend a day, one on one with Coach O'Brien and Coach Strollo and the rest of the staff and really get to know them.
Phil: Did Coach O'Brien show you a video of yourself and Aaron Hernandez and make the comparison as to why you could be a quality tight end like Hernandez?
Adam: He was showing us tape of Hernandez and Gronkowski. He didn't have my tape, he had seen it, but he was pointing everything out, showing me exactly what I do, how I get out of my cuts like he does, and that was one of the things that we talked about for a while was being able to come in early and being able to play the role that Hernandez does. They call it the F tight end in their offense. It's kind of athletic tight end and Gronkowski they call the Y tight end, is kind of the bigger, 6-6, 270 pound guy.
Jed: Do you have any tight end that you model yourself after that's currently in the NFL?
Adam: Brent Celek for the Eagles is actually my favorite tight end. He's actually the reason I wear No. 87. He's one of my favorite players. Tony Gonzalez is probably the best ever or one of the best ever, so I like watching him. I like watching all the great tight ends, and this year the NFL was especially fun to watch for me with all of the great tight ends, especially in the playoffs with Vernon Davis and Gronkowski and Hernandez and the Saints tight end.
Phil: What do you think you need to work on the most to prepare to come to Penn State?
Adam: I think I have to put on some more weight. I'm around 225 right now. I think I have everything together as far as receiving and speed and my knowledge of the game. I don't do that much blocking in high school. I do block and I do think I'm pretty good at it, but I don't do it a lot. I don't know how great my technique is. It's been pretty easy to just overpower kids because I'm bigger than them in high school. So, I'm just going to have to work on my blocking technique and just put on some more mass.
Phil: Social networking has become very important in recruiting. How much do you and Christian plan to be involved in social networking to recruit players into the class?
Adam: I developed a great relationship with Christian so far. I've never actually met him in person but we've clicked and I consider him one of my best friends. We talk all the time. That's something that we've talked about together is kind of being the leaders of this class and trying to put together a top five class for Penn State. With social media and texting, it's so easy to get ahold of guys now. I've already been in contact with quite a few guys and I think if everything goes as planned and we keep staying staying on guys and Coach O'Brien and his staff keep doing their jobs, we're going to put together a pretty nice class come Signing Day.
Jed: What impressed you the most about Bill O'Brien?
Adam: Right away, you could tell how passionate he is as a coach and how intense he is and how much he loves the game. That really impressed me. He's a really down to earth guy, really easy to relate to. I was telling a story a couple of days ago about how we were at lunch and I almost forgot I was at lunch with Penn State's head football coach. I just felt like he was one of my friends. He's just such a down to earth guy. You would never think he was in the position that he is. He's obviously one of the best at developing tight ends and that was a huge part of my decision. He's just a real great guy overall.
Phil: How much did you know about him when he was named the head coach?
Adam: I had seen his face before, but I didn't know his name or what his title was before he was rumored for the job. Then once he was rumored for the Penn State job, I kind of paid close attention to him.
Jed: You had a chance to go pretty much anywhere you wanted across the country. Was your head spinning? How tough was it to call someone and turn them down?
Adam: Yeah, it was tough. But a lot of times it was very stressful and got overwhelming at some points in the process. I've been going through this process for about a year and a half and it did get stressful as of recently. The last few months have been pretty stressful for me, but at the end of the day, this process is just a huge blessing. There's so many kids that would give anything to be in this situation, so you just can't take it for granted. But, I was ready for this process to end and I want to be a leader of the class and that's why I decided to commit so early to Penn State.
Phil: When the process started, did you have a vision of what it would be like?
Adam: No. Absolutely not. I never imagined the process would be like this. You get home from school and have 30 Facebook messages. You have all these media people wanting to talk to you. It's almost like you become a celebrity once you're a college football recruit. It's just crazy. I never thought it would wind up like this, but I'm really happy that it did and I wouldn't trade this situation for the world.