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Penn State Football: 3 Nittany Lions to Watch Against Central Florida

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Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) prior to the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren- USA TODAY Sports

QB Christian Hackenberg

Of course this one is a no-brainer. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is the leader of the offense and has the potential to be one of the best in the nation. He put up fantastic numbers in 2013 as a true freshman and showed why he was considered one of the top quarterbacks available coming out of high school.

Hackenberg’s performance in 2013 earned him several honors, including the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Heading into 2014, there are high expectations for the sophomore quarterback. He was named a Big Ten player to watch and landed on the preseason watch lists for the Maxwell Award (given to the best player in the nation), and the Davey O’Brien Award (given to the top quarterback). Though likely not this year, Hackenberg could have a Heisman candidacy in his future as well.

This week’s game will be the first chance to see the 2014 version of Hackenberg. He’ll be without the two starting wide receivers from last year and is playing behind a rebuilt offensive line that has a severe lack of experience. There’s even been talk that head coach James Franklinwants Hackenberg to run a bit more.

At any rate, Hackenberg’s impact on the offense makes him one of the top Nittany Lions to watch on Saturday in the Croke Park Classic.


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