From the day he arrived on the Penn State campus in June 2013, Christian Hackenberg was on a fast track transition into life as a Division I student-athlete. He started classes in late June, began working out with his new teammates in July, ran onto the practice field to begin training camp in early August and led the Nittany Lion offense onto the field at the season-opener in MetLife Stadium in late August, all in a span of just over two months. Hackenberg took the transition in stride and manufactured one of the greatest seasons by a Nittany Lion signal-caller in the 127 years of the program. With a record-breaking first season under his belt, Hackenberg added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame during the off-season strength and conditioning program. The Virginia product is firmly in a leadership position and has rapidly developed tremendous respect in the locker room. Among the team's hardest workers in practice and the weight room, Hackenberg is routinely among the first players on the practice field warming up. The vastly talented and instinctive Hackenberg was named the nation's No. 8 overall quarterback by Lindy's and the Big Ten's best passing quarterback by Sporting News. The competitive sophomore also was selected second-team preseason All-Big Ten by Athlon Sports and Lindy's. The former Fork Union Military Academy All-American became just the second true freshman quarterback to start a Penn State season-opener since 1911 and started all 12 games. Hackenberg was selected the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, becoming the second-straight Nittany Lion to win the award, with defensive end Deion Barnes doing so in 2012. Hackenberg's tremendous season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from 247Sports.com. He was selected a second-team Freshman All-American by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele's College Football and CollegeFootballNews.com, with Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston claiming the first-team nod. Hackenberg was selected to the BTN.com and ESPN.com Big Ten All-Freshman teams, earning BTN.com's Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year award and being named the offensive captain of ESPN.com's conference All-Freshman team. The poised and mature Hackenberg earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week five times during the season, the second-highest total since the honor began in 2010. He also garnered the Athlon Sports National Freshman-of-the-Week twice, following wins over ranked Michigan and Wisconsin squads. For the season, he was 231-of-392 for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Possessing a strong and accurate arm, he had a long completion of 68 yards to Adam Breneman, good for a touchdown in the big win at No. 14 Wisconsin. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg. He broke one Penn State overall passing record and 12 school freshman passing records, including the freshman marks for game and season passing completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. He compiled four 300-yard passing games to tie Matt McGloin for the school season record and tie Kerry Collins for second place on the career list, just two behind McGloin's career mark of six. Hackenberg completed 14 passes of 40 yards or longer, which was tied for the most nationally by a freshman and eighth overall (with Winston). Hackenberg brought a 3.14 grade-point average into the summer and is a probable Academic All-Big Ten candidate this year. Born in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Hackenberg is among five Nittany Lions from Virginia.
2013 - Freshman Season
Hackenberg enrolled in the University in late June and the true freshman produced one of the most impressive seasons of any Nittany Lion signal-caller during the program's 127-year history. Selected the 2013 Thompson-Randle El Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year, he broke one Penn State overall passing record and 12 school freshman passing records, including the rookie marks for game and season passing completions, attempts, yards and touchdown passes. For the season, he was 231-of-392 for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He had a long completion of 68 yards to Adam Breneman, good for a touchdown in the big win at No. 14 Wisconsin. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg. Hackenberg's tremendous season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from 247Sports.com. He was selected a second-team Freshman All-American by Athlon Sports, Phil Steele's College Football and CollegeFootballNews.com, with Heisman Trophy-winner Jameis Winston claiming the first-team nod. Hackenberg earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week five times during the season, the second-highest total since the honor began in 2010. He also was named the Athlon Sports National Freshman-of-the-Week twice, following the wins over Michigan and at Wisconsin. Hackenberg finished third overall on the Penn State season passing yardage chart (2,955) and fourth on the season completions list (231). He compiled four 300-yard passing games to tie Matt McGloin for the school season record and tie Kerry Collins for second place on the career list, just two behind McGloin's career mark of six. He completed 14 passes of 40 yards or longer, which was tied for the most by a freshman and eighth overall nationally (with Winston). He ranked second in the Big Ten in completions (231), third in passing yards (246.2 ypg), fourth in total offense (240.6) and seventh in touchdown passes (20). Hackenberg garnered the first of his five Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week accolades after completing 22-of-31 passes for 278 yards, with two touchdowns, in the season-opening win over Syracuse. He threw two 50-yard-plus touchdowns, including his first career touchdown pass to Allen Robinson (51 yards) in the third quarter. He also fired a 54-yard scoring strike to Geno Lewis in the fourth quarter in the 23-17 win over the Orange. Hackenberg threw for 311 yards in the win over Eastern Michigan to break Zack Mills' Penn State freshman game passing yardage record (280; vs. both Ohio State and Southern Mississippi in 2001). He was 23-of-33, with one touchdown and one interception, tossing a 45-yard scoring strike to Robinson. He was named Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week for the second time after completing 21-of-28 passes for 262 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against UCF. Hackenberg threw a 46-yard pass to Robinson in the third quarter that set up the Lions' second touchdown of the game. He threw a five-yard TD pass to Robinson and they also connected on a 44-yard completion. Hackenberg was 13-of-35 for 176 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a rain-soaked win over Kent State. He connected with Bill Belton on a 15-yard touchdown pass and had completions of 29 yards (Kyle Carter) and 27 yards (Breneman) against the Golden Flashes. Hackenberg broke the school freshman record with 30 completions in the Big Ten-opener at Indiana, also eclipsing the school record with 55 pass attempts. He broke Kerry Collins' pass attempts record of 54, set in 1992 at BYU. His 30 completions rank third overall at Penn State and he broke his own school freshman record with a season-high 340 yards, tossing three touchdowns against the Hoosiers, including a 46-yarder to Robinson. His 300-plus yard effort against the Hoosiers made him just the fourth player in school history to accumulate multiple 300-yard passing games. The eyes of the college football world were on Hackenberg and the Nittany Lions for the Oct. 11 prime time battle with unbeaten Michigan and he led Penn State to one of its most dramatic victories in program history. Trailing 34-27, he led the team on a game-tying, 80-yard scoring drive with 50 seconds left in the fourth quarter and no timeouts. He completed a 14-yard pass to Robinson, followed by a 29-yard strike to Brandon Felder and a 36-yard leaping grab by Robinson at the Michigan one-yard line, sending the Homecoming crowd of 107,884 into hysterics. Hackenberg then dove into the end zone for his first career rushing score, tying the game at 34-34, needing only 23 seconds and four plays to get Penn State into the end zone and overtime in the eventual 43-40 four-overtime thriller. Hackenberg posted his third 300-yard passing game with 305 yards on 23-of-44 passing and had three TD passes in the win over the No. 18 Wolverines. He was named the Athlon Sports National Freshman-of-the-Week and Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week for the third time. He also won the Capital One Cup Performance-of-the-Week against Michigan. Hackenberg connected with Felder on scoring strikes of 12 and 24 yards and hit Jesse James on a 20-yard scoring grab for a 21-10 halftime lead against the Wolverines. His one-yard touchdown run was the first rushing TD allowed by Michigan during the season. Hackenberg was 12-of-23 with one touchdown and two interceptions at No. 4 Ohio State. He connected with Felder on a 12-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Buckeyes for the Lions' first touchdown of the game. He left the game in the third quarter with a slight shoulder injury. Hackenberg completed 20-of-32 passes with a touchdown pass in the overtime win over Illinois to earn Athlon Sports' Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week. He threw a 47-yard strike to Robinson in the first quarter, and connected with Carter on the game-winning, 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime. Hackenberg also had a nine-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Illini and broke the school freshman record with his sixth 200-yard passing game. He completed 14-of-25 passes for 163 yards at Minnesota, with no touchdowns or interceptions, on a day that saw winds gusting to 30 mph. He connected with Belton on a 30-yard pass in the fourth quarter against the Gophers. Hackenberg was 16-of-23, with one TD and one interception, in the 45-21 win over Purdue to attain Athlon Sports Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors for a fourth time. He capped the scoring against Purdue with a four-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He connected with Breneman on an eight-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and had a 58-yard completion to James. Hackenberg was 16-of-33, including two completions of 40-plus yards, with two touchdowns and one interception in the Nebraska game. He found Breneman on a two-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and James on a 46-yard TD strike in the fourth quarter. He also completed a 43-yard pass to Robinson. He also delivered a seven-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for a 13-7 lead en route to receiving his fourth Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honor. Hackenberg gained Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week for a fifth time and Athlon Sports National Freshman-of-the-Week for a second time after going 21-of-30 for 339 yards, with a season-high four touchdown passes and no interceptions in a huge 31-24 victory at No. 14 Wisconsin. He found Breneman on a 68-yard scoring strike on the fourth play of the game, the Lions' longest play from scrimmage, and the longest play allowed by Wisconsin, all season. Hackenberg also connected with Lewis on three and 59-yard touchdown passes, with the second one coming early in the fourth quarter for a 31-14 lead. He also found James on a beautiful seven-yard scoring toss in the third quarter to give Penn State the lead for good.
An Under Armour All-American, Hackenberg was rated as the top pocket passing quarterback in the nation during his senior season at Fork Union Military Academy. Playing for head coach Micky Sullivan, he led the Blue Devils to the 2010 VISAA Division I State Championship as a sophomore and a state runner-up finish as a senior in 2012. Hackenberg was a VISAA Division I first-team all-state performer as a senior and was invited to "The Opening," an all-star summer prospect camp held on the Nike campus. Additionally, he was a 2012 Elite 11 Finalist. He threw for 5,473 yards, tossing 55 touchdowns and completing more than 50 percent of his passes, playing three years at Fork Union. As a senior, he threw for 2,144 yards and 24 touchdowns, while also rushing for 436 yards and three scores. He had 2,164 yards passing and 171 completions during his junior season with 20 touchdown passes and he threw for 1,165 yards and 11 scores as a sophomore. Hackenberg was rated as a five-star recruit by Scout.com and Rivals.com and a four-star recruit by ESPN.com. He also played basketball and baseball at Fork Union.
Full name is Christian Blaize Hackenberg. He is the son of Erick and Nicole Hackenberg. He has three younger brothers, Brandon, Adam and Drue. His father played football at Virginia and Susquehanna University and played in the Big 33 Classic. His mother was an All-Patriot League volleyball player at Lehigh. Both parents were inducted into the Marian High School Hall of Fame in Tamaqua, Pa. In his free time he enjoys hunting and fishing. He plans to enroll in the College of Communications and owned a 3.14 grade-point average after the 2014 spring semester. Born February 14, 1995 in Lehighton, Pa.