If preseason award watch lists are any indication, Christian Hackenberg is poised for a big season. The junior Penn State quarterback earned his fourth watch list spot on Thursday courtesy of the Manning Award.
Named after the famed quarterback family — including Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning — the Manning Award goes to the nation’s top quarterback each year. Created by the Sugar Bowl, it’s the only quarterback award that takes postseason performance into account.
Hackenberg is now on the watch list for the Manning Award, the Maxwell Award for college football’s most valuable player, the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best quarterback, and the Walter Camp Award for the national player of the year.
Since its creation in 2004, the Manning Award has gone to big names including Vince Young, Matt Ryan, Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota. No Big Ten quarterback has won the award since its inception 11 years ago.
In two seasons as a Nittany Lion, Hackenberg has started all 25 games for the team. He enters his third year with 5,932 passing yards (third in Penn State history), and holds a number of records.
He’s the only Nittany Lion to throw for over 400 yards in a single game, racking up 454 in a single game against UCF in Ireland. He broke or tied nine records with a winning bowl game performance against Boston College when the teams faced off in Yankee Stadium for the Pinstripe Bowl. In that game, Hackenberg went 34-for-50 through the air for 371 yards, four touchdowns, and no turnovers in a 31-30 overtime win.
Hackenberg is one of seven Nittany Lions on preseason award watch lists as the season opener approaches on September 5. He is joined by tight end Kyle Carter, receiver DaeSean Hamilton, cornerback Jordan Lucas, running back Akeel Lynch, defensive tackle Anthony Zettel, and center Angelo Mangiro.
The Nittany Lions will first take the field on the road, traveling to Philadelphia to face Temple on September 5 at 3:30 p.m.