Monday marks the start of Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. That means we are even closer to the start of Penn State’s 2014 season. Earlier in the day on Monday, the Big Ten Conference released its players to watch in 2014. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was an obvious choice for the list.
Penn State’s signal caller joined fellow quarterback Braxton Miller on the players to watch list for the East division. The rest of the East list consists of Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess, Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun.
Hackenberg adds this honor to his list of preseason accolades ahead of the 2014 season. He’s already landed on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation’s top player, and the Davey O’Brien Award, given to the best quarterback in the country.
The super sophomore will look to continue the momentum he started as a freshman last year. He had a spectacular season, finishing with 2,955 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. He received several weekly honors throughout the season and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Hackenberg was a highly-recruited prospect coming out of high school and was considered by many to be the best quarterback in the class.
This season, Hackenberg will have to deal with an inexperienced offensive line and the loss of his top receiver Allen Robinson. However, he does have the luxury of a potent rushing attack with Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch. Hackenberg will also have several young and talented wide receivers and a stable of talented, experienced tight ends to throw too.
The Big Ten West division players to watch list includes Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Wisconsin offensive tackle Rob Haveenstein.