It didn’t take long for Bill O’Brien and Penn State to make a splash with their 2013 recruiting class, landing ESPNU Watch List QB Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va./Fork Union Military Academy).
“For him the biggest thing is the ties there,” said his father Eric Hackenberg. “He grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania and we lived there until he was 7 years old. His grandparents are still there. We have lots of ties to the area and he grew up on Penn State football. He grew up around it.”
As a dad, he was looking to make sure his sone made the right decision, both on and off the field.
“We told him he would be the student at whatever school he picks and that there would have to be an opportunity as a player,” Hackenberg said. “He has to be happy being there. Christian met the coaches and loved the traditions of Penn State. Joe Paterno spent his life time building that. He really clicks with Coach O’Brien and his staff. Christian always knew he would know when it’s right and that time is now. He’s been to different places and he felt very strongly there at Penn State. I told him to not make an emotional decision. Do what you believe in your heart. Penn State is the place where he wanted to be.”
Hackenberg, 6-foot-4 and 215-pounds, is considered to be one of the top quarterbacks in his class. JHe's a 2013 Under Armour All-American and brings so much to the table, both in the huddle and away from the field, according to his coach Micky Sullivan.
“Christian is very athletic and so competitive,” Sullivan said. “He wants to win in the worst way. He works so hard at it and has a drive to be the best. Of course as a quarterback he can do it all. He has a very strong arm and can make all the throws.”
Hackenberg’s grandfather coached high school football in the state for roughly 25 players. His father, Eric, was also a quarterback who played in the Big 33 All-Star Game in 1988. Meanwhile, his mom was an All-American volleyball player for Lehigh.
Last summer Hackenberg had a chance to visit a lot of schools. He saw Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, South Carolina and others. Over the fall he took in games at Alabama, Virginia and Penn State.