For a team already battling scholarship reductions, the injury bug is a nasty, unwelcome pest. It seems, however, that Penn State has caught its cruel sting, suffering another blow to an already thin depth chart.
According to Blue White Illustrated’s Ryan Snyder, tight end Adam Breneman will miss the remainder of spring practice due to a bone bruise. The news comes on the heels of Miles Diffenbach’s torn ACL, an injury that will keep the fifth-year guard sidelined for the 2014 season.
Breneman, a sophomore from Mechanicsburg, Pa., caught a pedestrian 15 passes for 186 yards during his freshman campaign, but came on strong at the end of the season, hauling in a touchdown reception in each of the final three games.
While it would be difficult to replace Breneman’s developing rapport with quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the tight end position is arguably the strongest on the Nittany Lions squad, and quite possibly one of the premier position groups in the nation. Returning players like Jesse James and Kyle Carter bring valuable experience to the Lions’ passing game, combining for 1,284 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Brent Wilkerson, a sophomore from Clinton, Md., will look to use his 6’3”, 244-pound frame to establish a role for himself in the offense after playing on the scout team as a redshirt freshman.
In addition, incoming freshman Mike Gesicki is poised to be yet another dangerous weapon for Christian Hackenberg. Gesicki, a heralded four-star recruit listed at 6’ 5” and 236 pounds, was ranked by 24/7 sports as the number one tight end prospect in the nation heading into the season. In 12 games as a senior at Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, New Jersey, Gesicki caught 50 passes for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns.
It appears as if Breneman’s injury will not keep him out of the opening game against UCF in Dublin, Ireland on August 31, but it’s worth monitoring his progress as he returns to the field. Even if Breneman can’t suit up at the Croke Park Classic, Penn State’s tight ends are more than capable of filling his shoes.