A year ago Chris Hawkins was named defensive backs coach at Arizona State, making him the youngest position coach at a Power Five school at just 25.
The youth movement on the ASU staff is continuing as Adam Breneman was elevated from graduate assistant to tight ends coach. Breneman is three weeks younger than Hawkins.
Word of the move leaked out last week but the news was made official earlier this week after ASU finished the proper paperwork.
“That’s something we joke about,” said Brenenman, who turns 26 on March 31. “I am just so grateful for the opportunity. I can’t think of a better place for my first full-time position.”
Breneman, who played tight end at both Penn State and UMass, came on board in February 2020 as a graduate assistant and worked with the offense. He replaces Derek Hagan, whose contract was not renewed. Most graduate assistant positions are for two years so Breneman was prepared for another year in that role.
But the position came open and he was in the right place at the right time.
“When it came open I knew there definitely was a chance but we still had to go through the process and that’s great,” Breneman said. “I am glad they went through the process and did interviews because it makes it all the more rewarding that they did so and chose to go with me.”
Before arriving in Tempe, Breneman was living on the East coast and working in marketing and radio. He missed being directly involved with the game and jumped at the opportunity to join Herm Edwards’ staff after strength and conditioning coach Joe Connolly recommended him for the graduate assistant position.
Breneman had played at UMass when Connolly worked there and the graduate assistant position had opened up after Mike Bercovici left to take a position with the Arizona Cardinals.
Breneman is a product of Cedar Cliff High School in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He was ranked as the No. 2 tight end prospect and No. 43 recruit nationally by the 247Sports in the class of 2013. He spent three seasons at Penn State, earning 247Sports True Freshman All-America honors in 2013 before injuries sidelined him for the 2014 season, as well as most of 2015.
He went on to UMass as a graduate transfer with knee issues spelling an end of his playing career.
The addition of Breneman in a staff capacity looms large for the Sun Devils who are looking to beef up the tight end position which is integral in the new offense installed by new coordinator Zak Hill.
Breneman has been successful in recruiting, likely a huge factor in his appointment to the position. Many in the ASU 2021 signing class have talked about their relationship with him and cited that as a factor in their decision.
Breneman thinks he can identify with his players since he his not that far removed from his competitive days.
He has been in regular contact with the incoming tight ends as well as the offensive linemen he helped recruit and all were excited.
“They were all happy for me and liked knowing that I was going to be here with them,” he said. “When you recruit kids you’re really developing relationships so it meant a lot to them that I got the job. We’re ready to work and try and be part of something special.”
ASU still has another assistant position to fill, that of offensive line coach after Dave Christensen retired.