An eleventh hour offer from now newly signed incoming freshman wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer’s childhood favorite and home state team — Notre Dame — on Jan. 15 kept Penn State fans on the edges of their seats and fixated on their Twitter timelines in the two weeks leading up to National Signing Day.
On Wednesday morning, the Fort Wayne, IN native made his commitment to James Franklin official by putting pen to paper on National Signing Day.
— Mac Hippenhammer (@machipp2) February 1, 2017
Hippenhammer, who officially visited Penn State last weekend, for the most part stayed off of social media during the last few weeks of the recruiting cycle, not giving fans and analysts any indication whether he was leaning towards State College or South Bend. There’ve been a handful of curious retweets on the part of the young receiver, but nothing that really tipped his hand.
Now with Hippenhammer a definite as opposed to a question mark, he joins three-star recruit Cam Sullivan-Brown and four-star early enrollee KJ Hamler as the Nittany Lions’ three incoming wide receivers.
With his versatility and 4.47-second 40-yard dash speed, Hippenhammer will give an already loaded Penn State offensive depth chart additional options in its efforts to replace leading receiver Chris Godwin. There will be an even larger demand at wide receiver after next season with Mike Gesicki, DaeSean Hamilton, and Saeed Blacknall all entering their senior seasons and running back Saquon Barkley, who had the team’s fifth most receiving yards and third most touchdowns possibly leaving early for the NFL.
During his high school career, Hippenhammer had 1,902 receiving yards and caught fifteen touchdowns. On the ground, he ran for 676 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also returned five kickoffs for touchdowns as well as three more off of punts, while averaging 28 and 16.7 yards per return respectively. Penn State did not have a consistent or standout return man for the better part of this season, although true freshman Miles Sanders did emerge as the season played out. If Sanders assumes a bigger role on offense and considering his occasional struggles on kick returns, special teams may be Hippenhammer’s fastest path to the playing field.
Additionally, Hippenhammer was 6-of-13 on passing attempts for 46 yards so if he sees the field before offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead leaves to take a head coaching job, don’t be too surprised to see some trick plays.