It’s not easy to come into a program as a true freshman and compete for a starting spot. It’s even harder when that starting spot is the most important position on the field: quarterback.
Highly-touted freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg is one of those talented freshmen that is competing for starting quarterback at one of college football’s top programs.
Penn State is suffering the loss of senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who had his best season as a college quarterback in 2012. He finished with 3,271 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions, crushing his previous career-highs in all categories. Those are some big shoes to fill for a program that is in the midst of a postseason ban.
Hackenberg is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in the 2013 recruiting class. He is the highlight of Penn State’s special class and, according to ESPN, he is the 15th best recruit in the nation and the top quarterback prospect.
The Nittany Lions may not have quite the same success they had in 2012, but with Bill O’Brien as one of the nation’s best coaches and Hackenberg being the quarterback of the future, they could finish above .500 once again.
No one expected the Nittany Lions to even compete in 2012 after they lost starting running back Silas Redd and a number of others to transfer after a horrific scandal, but McGloin and Penn State overachieved and proved everyone wrong.
They could do the same for years to come with the top talent that O’Brien has recruited. If he stays in Happy Valley for the long-term, he could end up being the best coach in the Big Ten along with guys like Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio and Brady Hoke, and turn this program back into a national power.
However, the first order of business is to turn Hackenberg into a leader.