After the loss of senior Matt McGloin, the Penn State Nittany Lions are facing the tall task of finding a new starting quarterback. Head coach Bill O’Brien, though, already has a talented gunslinger capable of picking up where McGloin left off in 2013.
Freshman sensation Christian Hackenberg, the gem of the Nittany Lions’ 2013 recruiting class, is in a perfect position to win the starting job this fall. One of the top quarterbacks of the 2013 crop and a five-star recruit, Hackenberg will be O’Brien’s next big project as he attempts to prove himself as some sort of a quarterback guru.
Measuring in at 6’4’’, 210 pounds, Hackenberg has the prototypical size that college coaches look for in an elite quarterback. Mix that with tremendous arm strength, outstanding scrambling abilities and the passing prowess to pick defenses apart, and you’ve got a Nittany Lions passer capable of giving opposing defensive coordinators nightmares.
During camp, Hackenberg will face some stiff competition from incoming JUCO passer Tyler Ferguson, who is currently listed as the co-No. 1 quarterback on the Penn State depth chart. The two are set to duel it out for the starting gig, which should provide the Nittany Lions with the best quarterback play possible.
Hackenberg has two things going against him, though.
First, the freshman was unable to participate in spring practices while Ferguson was impressing coaches. The extra work with the rest of the roster gives Ferguson a leg up. Second, Hackenberg doesn’t have any college experience while Ferguson spent 2012 tearing it up at the College of the Sequoias. Without experience or extra time with the team, Hackenberg is at a disadvantage heading into camp.
We’ll see how it all plays out during fall ball, but seeing Hackenberg already listed alongside Ferguson at the top of the depth chart shows a lot about how Penn State fells about the freshman.
I’d put my money on Hackenberg winning the starting job.