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July 16, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; July 11, 2014 - Sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) has been added to the 33-player watch list for the 2014 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, presented to the nation's premier signal caller.
Hackenberg is one of just seven sophomores listed on the O'Brien Award watch list and is also among the preseason candidates for the Maxwell Award, presented to the nation's college football player of the year.
The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. The Davey O'Brien Award honors candidates who exemplify Davey O'Brien's enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.
Penn State boasts two past recipients of the prestigious O'Brien Award - Todd Blackledge (1982) and Kerry Collins (1994). Michael Robinson (2005) and Daryll Clark (2009) are Penn State's most recent semifinalist for the award.
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. His tremendous true freshman season was recognized nationally, as he garnered first-team True Freshman All-America accolades from 247Sports.com. He completed 231 of 392 passes for 2,955 yards, with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. Hackenberg also ran for four touchdowns and accumulated 2,887 yards of total offense, an average of 240.6 ypg.
The Virginia native 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 single 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, including a season-long 68-yard touchdown pass to Adam Breneman in the season finale win at No. 14 Wisconsin.
This year's O'Brien Award watch list, which was compiled by a subset of the Davey O'Brien National Selection Committee, and was selected based on player performance during the previous year and expectations heading into the 2014 college football season.
The award is overseen by the Davey O'Brien Foundation, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, and has given away more than $900,000 in scholarships and university grants to help high school and college athletes transform leadership on the field into leadership in life.
Appearing on the Watch List is not a requirement for a player to win the Davey O'Brien Award. Quarterbacks from all 125 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools are eligible for the award until the field is narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Monday, Nov. 3. The Foundation and the Selection Committee will announce three finalists on Monday, Nov. 24. The 2014 Davey O'Brien winner will be announced on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, Dec. 11.
The Nittany Lions now have six players on seven different preseason watch lists: Kyle Carter (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Christian Hackenberg (Maxwell Award - College Football MVP, O'Brien Award - Nation's Top Quarterback), Mike Hull (Butkus - Nation's Top Linebacker). Jesse James (Mackey Award - Nation's Top Tight End), Jordan Lucas (Bednarik - Defensive Player of the Year, Thorpe - Nation's Top Defensive Back) and Donovan Smith (Outland Trophy - Nation's Top Interior Lineman).
James Franklin was named Penn State's 16th head football coach on January 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in Vanderbilt history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-PSAC quarterback at East Stroudsburg University and set or tied 23 school records.
More than 4,000 new Penn State football season tickets have been sold for the 2014 campaign. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the upcoming season.
Fans are now able to purchase Penn State football season tickets and make their Nittany Lion Club donation online at GoPSUsports.com/seasontickets, while choosing their own seats by utilizing Virtual Venue. New season tickets also are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Recent Graduate ticket program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).
More than 600 Recent Graduate program season tickets have been sold. Interested recent graduates can call 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Penn State returns 40 letterwinners and 15 starters (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist) for the upcoming season and will play a trio of 2013 Top 10 teams this fall. The Nittany Lions will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25, 8 p.m.), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming, 12 p.m.) and Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule. Penn State will host Akron (Sept. 6), UMass (Sept. 20) and Temple (Nov. 15) during its non-conference slate.
The Nittany Lions open the season Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.
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