Adam Breneman won't have to wait much longer to get back on the field in a game as the nation's top tight end recruit will play this season rather than redshirt.
Breneman sat out his senior year of high school after tearing the ACL in his right knee, and after enrolling early at Penn State, he was held out of contact drills during the spring.
Now healthy, Breneman has been so impressive in training camp that coach Bill O'Brien already has decided he will get on the field as a true freshman.
"Oh yeah, Breneman will definitely play," O'Brien said. "He's had a good camp. We have four tight ends, all of those guys have played well: Jesse James; Matt Lehman has had a good camp; Kyle Carter has been his usual self; and Adam Breneman has had a good camp."
O'Brien described Breneman as a "smart player, tough kid, good hands, he can run. He'll be playing."
One tight end who won't be playing any time soon is redshirt freshman Brent Wilkerson, who is still battling a back injury.
"Brent Wilkerson is out," O'Brien said, without elaborating if that means for the foreseeable future or for the entire season.
Penn State's linebacker depth is already a concern, and there are still questions about backup Ben Kline as the season approaches.
Kline, who figures to be the first linebacker off the bench, still isn't 100 percent as he's coming back from a shoulder injury.
"I believe he'll be ready to go," O'Brien said. "We have to do a great job of managing that. That's a shoulder injury that maybe we have to put a harness on him. He's a tough kid. You want guys like Ben Kline on your football team."
Backup running back Bill Belton is academically eligible to play after having to spend time in the summer to get up to speed with his classwork. That's key for the Lions, who could have been in trouble had Belton not been eligible since there are only two other tailbacks, Zach Zwinak and Akeel Lynch.
News and notes
n O'Brien described the health of the team as "decent." He added, "Knock on wood. These guys have done a nice job of practicing physically and staying on their feet."
n The Lions held a scrimmage in Beaver Stadium on Wednesday, and O'Brien believes it's important for the younger players to get acclimated to the facility prior to the season.
"The big thing is, it's important, especially for our young players who have never played in that stadium, to get in there, even if there's no crowd there, to just get a feel for it," O'Brien said. "This is not just a stadium, this is a cathedral. This is a very, very famous place in the history of college football. It was pretty cool."
n O'Brien made sure to point out how impressive it is that so many his players graduate early, noting receiving Brandon Felder and tight end Matt Lehman graduated Saturday. Eight active players already have earned their degree.
"That's a big key around here," O'Brien said. "One of the great things that I see at Penn State is that you have guys like that, like those two guys and John Urschel, that have graduated and are still playing on your football team. They can really talk to your younger players about what they did, what they went through, and how they set it up."