Nittany Lions welcome seven football student-athletes for spring

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- With the spring semester underway, Coach Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lion football program have welcomed seven new student-athletes who are enrolled in classes. The players will be able to participate in winter strength and conditioning sessions, and spring practice with the returning Nittany Lions. 

The list includes four high school players who graduated early and have signed to enroll at Penn State, and one junior-college signee for the spring semester. The January signees include running back Richy Anderson (Frederick, Md.), tight end Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa.), quarterback Tyler Ferguson (Visalia, Calif.), defensive back Anthony Smith (Randolph, N.J.) and defensive back Jordan Smith (Washington, D.C.).

O’Brien also announced that two “Run-on” players have joined the squad for the spring semester – quarterback D.J. Crook (Worcester Academy/West Barnstable, Mass.) and quarterback Austin Whipple (Salisbury School (Connecticut)/Westlake, Ohio). Whipple is the son of Mark Whipple, a long-time college and NFL coach.

Five of the January enrollees live 350 miles or less from State College, an important recruiting component for O’Brien and his staff.

The January enrollees will join the returning Nittany Lions on campus as preparations for the 2013 season begin. National Letter of Intent Day is Feb. 6. The Nittany Lions will begin spring practice in March and the Blue-White Game is scheduled for April 20 in Beaver Stadium.

"We have seven new players here on campus who arrived over the weekend," O'Brien said. "We're really excited about those guys. We have a combination of scholarship and Run-on guys. We're really excited about both groups of guys that came in here, and they're guys that we just really want them to get off on the right foot academically. That's the big thing. And so that's what their goal is right now. And then acclimate themselves into the weight room and conditioning and all those things with Fitzy (Craig Fitzgerald) that they have to do. We're really excited about that group of guys, and then hopefully after signing day, everybody will see that we've brought in a great class of future Penn State football players.”

O’Brien, the ESPN and Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year, and the Nittany Lions open the 2013 season on Aug. 31 against Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Penn State returns 16 starters for 2013, eight on offense, six on defense and two specialists, along with 10 additional returnees with starting experience.

Season tickets are available for the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium next year.

For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, go to www.GoPSUsports.com or call 800-648-8269 (800-NITTANY) from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

Richy Anderson
RB | Frederick, Md. | Governor Thomas Johnson High School | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 180
The son of former Nittany Lion great and NFL running back Richie Anderson, Richy Anderson is a 5-11, 180-pound versatile all-purpose back. The Frederick, Md., native produced more than 1,700 yards of offense and 15 touchdowns as a junior at Governor Thomas Johnson High School. Rated a three-star prospect on Scout.com, Rivals.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports, Anderson helped lead Thomas Johnson High School to the Class 3A state title game in 2011. Anderson's father lettered at Penn State from 1991-92, rushing for 1,756 yards and 31 touchdowns before embarking on a 12-year NFL career with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys.

Adam Breneman

TE | Camp Hill, Pa. | Cedar Cliff High School | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 230
Rated among the nation’s top tight ends, Camp Hill, Pa., native Adam Breneman brings a versatile skill set to the Nittany Lion program. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Breneman possesses great speed and quickness for a player his size. A crisp route runner with good hands, the Cedar Cliff High School standout has the tools to line up in a variety of locations on offense. Breneman’s traits will fit nicely into O’Brien tight end-friendly offensive scheme. Rated a five-star prospect by Rivals, Breneman caught 72 passes for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. As a sophomore, Breneman made 60 receptions for 863 yards and eight touchdowns. Off the field, Breneman played an instrumental role in a fundraising effort, “Catch the Cure”, which helped raise more than $80,000 for Project A.L.S.

Tyler Ferguson
QB | Visalia, Calif. | College of The Sequoias | Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 210
A standout quarterback at The College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., quarterback Tyler Ferguson enters the spring semester with three years of eligibility at Penn State. Ferguson, who threw for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns in 10 games during 2012, is a 6-5, 210-pound signal-caller. He completed better than 55 percent of his passes and was the second-leading passer in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Central Valley Conference. The Bakersfield, Calif., product threw for 1,275 yards and touchdowns as a senior at Ridgeview High School. He fueled a 6-0 start during his senior season in 2011 before suffering a broken collarbone. Ferguson is an accurate passer with good pocket awareness and the ability to tuck the ball and run when he needs to.

Anthony Smith
DB | Randolph, N.J. | Valley Forge Military Academy | Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 185
Defensive back Anthony Smith will likely have an opportunity to make an early impact during spring drills in the Penn State secondary and on special teams. A 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back hailing from Randolph, N.J., Smith spent last season at Valley Forge Military Academy. In addition to playing in the defensive backfield, Smith spent time at quarterback and was the long snapper for Valley Forge in 2012. He earned second-team All-West Jersey honors during his final season at Pope John XXIII High School (Sussex County, N.J.) in 2011. Smith is an aggressive player with the size and speed to add depth in the Penn State secondary and special teams unit when spring drills begin in March.

Jordan Smith
DB | Washington, D.C. | H.D. Woodson High School | Ht: 5-11 | Wt: 185
Penn State has had a long line of talented players from suburban Washington, D.C., and 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back Jordan Smith will look to join that list for the Nittany Lions. Smith is an aggressive athlete with the skill set to play in a number of different spots in the secondary. Like Anthony Smith, Jordan Smith will likely have an opportunity to add depth and make an early impact in the secondary and on special teams during spring drills. Smith tallied two-straight 60-plus tackle seasons at Archbishop Carroll High School before moving to H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C. Smith’s older brother, Stephen, played high school football with former Nittany Lion great Derrick Williams at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland.

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Last Updated January 11, 2013