Penn State fans have a lot to be excited for over the next few years. Despite heavy NCAA sanctions, head coach Bill O’Brien has still been able to recruit some top players to bring their talents to Happy Valley. The best recruit of the group so far, quarterback Christian Hackenberg, finished his first season with a fantastic performance in the upset victory at Wisconsin.
In a hostile environment against a defense that was one of the best in the nation, Hackenberg did not let the pressure get to him. He looked calm and poised the entire game, standing tall in the pocket and letting the plays develop down field. He also continued to show his surprising mobility, rolling out several times to avoid pressure.
Hackenberg waited until the final game of the year to have his best performance of the season. He put up a phenomenal stat line, completing 21 out of 30 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns. It was the first time in his career that he had four touchdown tosses. He also avoided any big mistakes by not committing a turnover.
Penn State has clearly found a quarterback who’s more than capable of running the team for the next few years.
Heading into this season, Hackenberg wasn’t able join the team until the summer due to him still being a high school senior. Now, he has an entire offseason to continue to grow and develop. He had a decent season in his first year, making it easy at times to forget he was just a kid fresh out of high school.
Though Hackenberg had some struggles this season, his performance on Saturday at Wisconsin should go a long way in building his confidence. He’s clearly the “real deal” and has already lived up to the hype that followed him as a recruit. Penn State fans can be assured that behind Hackenberg, the future in Happy Valley is bright.
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