The Ultimate ESPN 300 annual list is out, and Penn State makes another strong showing. The list ranks the top college football prospects since 2006, based upon ESPN’s grade and projection coming out of high school and actual college performance. Basically, it ranks which players lived up to the hype.
It stands to reason that it would be hard to measure if members of the 2013 recruiting class, after only one reason, lived up to their high school hype, but ESPN is willing to take that risk. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg appears at #55 on the list, only the second 2013 recruit behind Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III.
“We certainly had our misses on prospects over the last eight years — and they are reflected within this ranking — but we did give the edge to prospects we projected highly out of high school who lived up to their predicted stock or expectations,” ESPN explains. “So this ranking is not simply a list of the top college performers over the last eight years, as our talented college football writers could produce that version. Our version of the Ultimate ESPN 300 is essentially a hypothetical ranking that blends what we know now with what we projected back then.”
Seven other Penn Staters also made the list: Adam Breneman (142), Devon Still (144), Jared Odrick (154), Maurice Evans (189), Stefen Wisniewski (230) and Michael Mauti (264).
Maurice Evans over NaVorro Bowman? Okay.
Hackenberg essentially rewrote most of the freshman passing record book at Penn State. He set new records in single game completions (30) and season completions (231) as well as single game yardage (340) and total season yardage (2,955) for a freshman. His nine 200-yard passing games in one season placed third on Penn State’s all-time list behind only Kerry Collins and Matt McGloin, both of whom went on to play professionally.