PENN STATE'S HACKENBERG'S NFL STOCK IS ON THE WAY UP

By David F. Cohen

Christian Hackenberg could have gotten out of his commitment to Penn State back in 2011 after the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke.

But he kept his word.

And he could have gotten out of it before he even threw a pass in anger for the Nits in 2013.

But he kept his word.

Now the word is that Hack is a highly prized future NFL quarterback.

He isn’t eligible for the 2015 NFL draft. If Hackenberg came out early, after his junior year, he could enter the 2016 draft.

But if Hackenberg was part of the 2015 draft class, one AFC team would likely make a strong push for him … very early. As in possibly No. 1 overall.

In a story posted on NFL.com, an unnamed veteran AFL scout called Hackenberg “the top QB in college football.”

“He’s the top QB in college football.” — veteran NFL scout –> Sources Tell Us: http://t.co/p4IiBEIrCg pic.twitter.com/VqTePUdPli

— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) September 10, 2014

That’s quite a compliment considering Hackenberg, 19, has only played in 15 college games, and there are many other big-name QBs — Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (6-4, 224), Florida State Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston (6-4, 235) and UCLA’s Brett Hundley (6-3, 227) — under consideration for an early first-round selection in 2015.

The theme of the NFL.com story is “Sources Tell Us”, and it is collection of sources talking to NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks, Daniel Jeremiah and Charles Davis.

Hackenberg was a blue-chip recruit who was named starter by former PSU head coach Bill O’Brien at the beginning of the 2013 season.

He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013 after throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns, the highlight of his season a 339-yard, four-TD effort in the Lions’ upset at Wisconsin.

And Hackenberg has posted impressive numbers through Penn State’s first two games — 773 yards and four touchdowns.

He threw for a school-record 454 yards in the Lions’ 26-24 win over Central Florida in Ireland.

From the NFL.com story on Hackenberg: “Hackenberg was a pretty good quarterback as a freshman last season playing on an average team. He put in work in the offseason, bulking up and adding strength, and it has shown in his improved game. …

“There hasn’t been a Big Ten quarterback drafted in the first round since Kerry Collins was taken by the Carolina Panthers in 1995. Still far from a polished product, Hackenberg looks the part and could end the drought once he decides to go pro.”

 

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