Hackenberg eyes starting QB role at Penn State
State College, PA, United States (4E Sports) – Christian Hackenberg will compete for the starting quarterback job at Penn State, according to coach Bill O’Brien.
“Certainly, he’ll be in the mix,” O’Brien said Monday afternoon on Penn State’s first day of spring practice. “We’ll teach him the offense and see how he does.”
The Nittany Lions’ quarterback situation is in flux with the departure of fifth-year signal-caller Matt McGloin, who’s joining the NFL draft.
Once he steps foot on campus, Hackenberg will compete with two other inexperienced signal-callers. Sophomore Steven Bench is the only returner at the position, and he threw just eight passes last season. Junior college QB Tyler Ferguson enrolled in January.
O’Brien said he will put the quarterbacks in the mix, let them compete and give playing time to the best.
“Christian is a kid you build your program around,” former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer said over the summer. “You’re better the moment he steps on campus.”
Hackenberg will arrive this summer as one of the most heralded quarterback recruits Penn State ever has reeled in. He’s the highest-rated prospect to commit to Penn State since defensive end Maurice Evans in 2006. ESPN ranked Evans No. 11 overall; Hackenberg is No. 15.
Hackenberg cited a “gut feeling” and playing under O’Brien as reasons for choosing the Lions.
“You know, I’m just sort of going in there with the mindset that I’m competing for the job,” said Hackenberg.