Tight end Adam Breneman returning to UMass for senior season

  • Massachusetts tight end Adam Breneman (81) catches a pass against South Carolina linebacker T.J. Holloman (11) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Massachusetts 34-28. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford) AP

  • Adam Breneman, right, of UMass, scores after breaking a tackle attempt by Isaac Yiadom, of Boston College, Saturday at Gillette Stadium. GAZETTE STAFF/ROBERTS

  • Adam Breneman, of UMass, runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against Boston College, Saturday at Gillette Stadium. GAZETTE STAFF/ROBERTS

Published: 1/12/2017 11:09:12 PM

Adam Breneman is returning to UMass for his senior season.

Coming off a standout junior season, the Penn State transfer could have put his name into the NFL Draft pool, but instead elected to return to UMass.

Breneman caught 70 passes for 808 yards and eight touchdowns. His receptions were tops among tight ends in the regular season. He was a semifinalist for the Mackey Award, annually given to the nation’s top tight end.

CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com had him ranked as the No. 8 tight end in the 2018 draft, which would have likely made him a mid- to late-round pick if he came out this year.

He said he wanted to be part of a UMass breakthrough.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back for my senior year, to be part of that process and help this team take the next step,” said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, native.

Breneman said he submitted a request for the NFL’s underclassmen draft evaluation and discussed his situation with many people, including UMass coach Mark Whipple, who coached in the NFL with the Steelers, Eagles and Browns.

“I talked to a lot of people and used a lot of resources. Coach Whipple was a big one,” he said. “I got my NFL Draft evaluation back. There were a lot of positives which I was happy about,” he said. “On top of being a part of this program for another year, playing with (quarterback) Andrew (Ford, his high school teammate) and playing for Coach Whip, I have the opportunity to play another season and prove that I can be healthy.”

Breneman’s career nearly ended after injuries caused him to miss most of his final two seasons at Penn State. After transferring to UMass, he was healthy enough to play all 12 games.

He thinks he can get even better, which would help his draft stock.

“I want to improve from the speed standpoint and the strength standpoint and have another year with good production and see where it takes me,” he said.

Back home in Pennsylvania, he’s watched a lot of bowl games, which is motivating him for spring practice and the 2017 season.

“(Getting to a bowl) is obviously the goal. Watching a lot of these teams in bowl games, there’s no doubt in my mind we’re as good or better than a lot of these teams,” he said. “We have to figure out a way to get more in the win column.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage

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