First indications are that Penn State coach Bill O’Brien is holding the embattled Nittany Lions program together. Running back Silas Redd likely will transfer to USC, but many of the incoming recruiting class have indicated they plan to honor their choice, despite the crippling sanctions levied on the program by the NCAA. The No. 1-rated pocket-passing quarterback by ESPN — Christian Hackenberg of Fork Union, Virginia — reaffirmed that he will, indeed, attend Penn State. He spoke with O’Brien and re-upped, so to speak.
And he was not alone.
Adam Breneman, one of the nation’s highly rated tight ends, said he is coming, too, a sentiment shared by several players.
“Yes, we are all 100 percent committed,” Breneman said of himself, Hackenberg, Will Fuller of Philadelphia, offensive linemen Brendan Mahone of New Jersey, Andrew Nelson of Hershey, Pa., and defensive lineman Garrett Sickels of Little Silver, N.J.
“Halfway through the da, the six of us went up to coach O’Brien’s office and told him we are going to stay committed,” Hackenberg said, according to Pennlive.com. “We believe in coach O’Brien and his coaching staff.”
The players’ comments come in the wake of NCAA sanctions handed down against Penn State on Monday: 112 wins forfeited, the loss of numerous scholarships, a bowl ban during the next four years and a $60 million fine.
“Yeah, I’m 100 percent going there,” Fuller said in a text to ESPN.
Hackenberg, the top-rated player headed to the Nittany Lions, No. 16 in the ESPN 150, also had positive things to say Saturday via Twitter.
“Love this 2013 class. @AdamBreneman87 @BigBabyMahon @Will_Fuller7 @DorianJ64 @GarrettSickels @ANelson59,” Hackenberg wrote.
Penn State has 12 recruits in its 2013 signing class. Mahon is in the ESPN 300 and ranked No. 10 among guards. Sickels is ranked No. 33 among defensive ends, and Nelson is ranked No. 20 among tackles.
Fuller, 6-foot-1, 163 pounds, is ranked No. 130 at his position. The three-star receiver committed to Penn State on June 5. Earlier, he posted a message on Twitter about his renewed commitment.
“GREAT time at Penn State! Coach O’Brien made me remember why I committed in the 1st place. I’m 100% committed to the greatest college,” Fuller wrote.