Top Five Big Ten Starting Quarterbacks Entering Spring Practice

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Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg (14) prepares to throw the ball during the first quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren- USA TODAY Sports

No. 1: Christian Hackenberg- Penn State

Deciding between Hackenberg and Cook to be number one was no easy task. Statistically and almost virtually they are almost the same quarterback, however Hackenberg has been able to accomplish a great deal at a younger age while playing on a team that’s dealt with depth issues.

Hackenberg in his freshman season turned in one of the greatest true freshman seasons in not just Big Ten but college football history. Over the course of his first 12 starts with the Nittany Lions,  Hackenberg completed 58.9% of his passes (231 for 392) for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns, while only throwing 10 interceptions.

2014 was a huge difference for Hackenberg and the Penn State offense, mostly due to the loss of Allen Robinson as well as a dismal offensive line performance throughout the season. In the Nittany Lions twelve regular season games, the 19-year old quarterback threw only eight touchdowns and 15 interceptions for 2,606 yards.

However in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Hackenberg showed off all his potential, as he dominated the Eagles defense, completing 34 out of 50 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns.

While he did make mental mistakes throughout the season when it came to throwing into coverage and such, Hackenberg’s numbers do not dictate how well the sophomore quarterback actually played throughout the season. Ultimately, the lack of experience at the wide receiver and offensive line positions hurt Hackenberg in his sophomore season.

NFL scouts have not been discouraged by Hackenberg’s performance in 2014 and still consider him one of the top quarterback’s, if not the top quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Why have NFL scouts been falling in love with him since his senior year in high school? Because he presents all the tangibles of a franchise quarterback. He has great size for a quarterback at 6’4, 234 pounds, he presents a strong arm that will only get stronger as time goes on and his pocket presence is tremendous for someone his age. Not to mention that the young quarterback has already brought his team back in the fourth quarter six times over his career.

In 2015, Hackenberg will look for redemption and will look to break almost every Penn State career passing record as he closes in on passing yards, touchdowns, and completions this upcoming season.

With how Hackenberg performed in the Pinstripe Bowl and how he performed over the course of his freshman season, Hackenberg took the top spot on our list. No, it’s not bias. It’s plain and simple, Hackenberg is one of the best pro-style quarterbacks to come through the Big Ten in a long time, potentially the best since Drew Brees at Purdue.

Now will he have a successful NFL career like Brees? That’s yet to be seen at this time. One thing that we do know however is that Hackenberg has all the tools to be an elite quarterback prospect in next year’s draft and very well could end up being a first overall pick if he has a strong 2015 campaign.

Don’t agree with the rankings? Leave a comment below or tell us on Twitter (@VictoryBellRing)!