Penn State has more depth at tight end than any other position, but the team has lost a key member of that unit to injury.
Sophomore Adam Breneman is out indefinitely, the school announced Monday, and the injury reportedly is to his left knee. Breneman will require surgery and could miss the entire season, according to the Patriot-News of Harrisburg.
It's unclear exactly what the injury entails, but the Harrisburg paper revealed it's not to a major ligament such as the ACL or MCL. Penn State did not reveal specifics about the injury, which is part of a policy implemented by new coach James Franklin.
Breneman missed most of spring drills with a bone bruise in his left knee, and his current injury is believed to be related to that, according to the Patriot-News.
Breneman suffered an ACL injury in his right knee in high school and had to sit out his senior season. He was rated the No. 1 tight end recruit in the nation prior to that injury.
Breneman made an impact as a true freshman last season, particularly late in the year as he developed a strong on-field rapport with quarterback Christian Hackenberg. He finished with 15 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a 68-yard TD in the finale to help PSU beat Wisconsin.
The Nittany Lions would have had arguably the best tight end trio in the country in Breneman, Jesse James and Kyle Carter. The latter two still will be counted on to carry a large portion of the receiving load, while Breneman's role will have to be filled by a less experienced player.
Redshirt sophomore Brent Wilkerson (6-foot-3, 247 pounds), who missed last season with a back injury, moves up the depth chart with Breneman out. Wilkerson has a lot of potential but has never played a game in college.
True freshman Mike Gesicki (6-6, 237) has drawn rave reviews from Franklin and some of the PSU players for his skill set. Gesicki caught 103 passes for 1,817 yards and 16 TDs in high school.
The Lions have options at tight end, and most teams in the country don't have one player, let alone two, the caliber of James and Carter. Still, losing Breneman is a big blow given that PSU's wide receiver corps is young and inexperienced, which means the tight ends will be a major part of the offense.