UNIVERSITY PARK — The journey Adam Breneman went on to get back to University Park Monday night for his State Media event at Champs Downtown was as curvy as the road he commonly took to get from his home town of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to Penn State.
Breneman had a legacy before he ever stepped foot on campus. He, Christian Hackenberg and many others from Penn State’s 2012 recruiting class came to University Park amid the darkest days in program history.
Breneman amassed only 15 receptions for 186 yards in his three years at Penn State, with injuries hindering his last two.
But legacies go far deeper than stats. After graduating in three years, Breneman left Penn State for a career in politics.
Then, Breneman found himself healthy and back on the field for UMass where he became the school’s all-time receiving yards leader as a tight end.
Breneman would take a graduate assistant position under Herm Edwards at Arizona State before quickly becoming the youngest position coach in Division 1 when Edwards named him tight ends coach in 2021.
It was short-lived at Arizona State, but now Breneman is back in Happy Valley and heavily involved in Penn State football albeit in a different way.
Breneman is the co-founder of Mercury, a media company focused on college sports and driving NIL deals for players through media endeavors. He’s also doing broadcasting work for CBS Sports and the Big Ten Network.
His work with Mercury, specifically State Media is what has made him a frequent flyer around Happy Valley recently and all over the country for that matter.
“It’s been a whirlwind. I’ve had a lot of different experiences in football,” Breneman told Nittany Sports Now in an exclusive interview Monday night. “The political stint taught me a lot when I got into this media endeavor. Making my own content, the TV, the State Media, Mercury and building that company.”
It was far from a typical journey to get to this point. Many forks in the road throughout his football career helped Breneman get to be one of the most trusted names in content creation and college football media.
“It was really the experiences I had in football as a five-star recruit, as an All-American, as the guy who transferred schools, as a guy who had been through the ups and downs, as the guy who coached and then left coaching,” Breneman said. “I had this unique perspective on college sports that I could share with everyone else.”
Those experiences have helped create a multitude of opportunities that Breneman is grateful for since beginning this endeavor in the media.
“It’s been awesome,” Breneman said. “There’s a lot that’s been happening, a lot of opportunities that have come up, but I mean, I owe it to my team to the people who have supported me and people in my life who took a chance on me and have done things or given me access that mostly wouldn’t.”
That unprecedented access Breneman mentioned speaks volumes to the amount of respect those in the college football industry have for him. It comes as no surprise that coaches from across the country are asking to be on his Next Up Podcast which is both wildly successful and popular.
Breneman has been able to get coaches to open up about hard times while coaching as well as just open up their programs for the world to see, which is typically unheard of in this era of college football.
Breneman’s also had his former coach, Penn State’s James Franklin, on his podcast.
“Coach Franklin has been awesome with me,” Breneman said. “Coach Franklin came on my podcast for an hour. I mean, how hard it is to coach Franklin scheduled for an hour to talk about a bunch of things? He talked about getting booed off the field during 2016 and winning the Big Ten Championship, talked about coming to Penn State and not knowing everything about the sanctions when he got here.”
The access also trickled down getting players and coaches for interviews for camp and has allowed him to continue building his media empire by hiring current players such as Nick Dawkins and Jerry Cross to host a podcast with former Penn State football player Aeneas Hawkins. It’s also helped him get former Nittany Lions like Hackenberg and Brandon Bell involved as well.
“It’s the relationships I’ve had from coaching and recruiting that have started to pay off,” Breneman said.
For now, Breneman and State Media in conjunction with NIL collective Happy Valley United are focused on building their respective brands, but so far, it’s working well for all involved.
No matter how things unfold for Breneman, his work for Penn State off the field will continue to add to his legacy as a Nittany Lion.