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Hackenberg Ranked No. 11 On ESPN’s Top 25 Underclassmen List

Christian Hackenberg was ranked No. 11 by ESPN’s Todd McShay in his Top 25 College Football Underclassmen list yesterday.

The list focused on the best underclassmen that were non-draft eligible players in college football. The team of analysts focused on a player’s college ability, not pro potential. They also ranked players by future potential in college football, answering the question “If you could have two or three more seasons with any of these players at the college level, who would you recruit to play for your team?” They factored in player’s potential and durability to answer the question.

Leading the list was Heisman frontrunner Jameis Winston from Florida State followed by Florida Gators freshman Vernon Hargreaves III and USC defensive lineaman Leonard Williams.

Hackenberg was praised by ESPN for his arm, size, and decision-making ability. ESPN also recognized his “it” factor in leading clutch drives and “really impressive” toughness while staying composed through mistakes.

In his first year for the Blue and White, Hackenberg put up impressive numbers. The true freshman was ranked third in the Big Ten in passing and finished with the third most passing yards in a single-season in school history. He was named Big Ten freshman of the week five times and won freshman of the year honors after throwing for 2,955 yards with 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

O’Brien knows that this is just the start for his quarterback. “He’s had a remarkable year,” O’Brien said. “To come here as an 18-year-old freshman with such high expectations and to be able to learn this offense and do the things we have asked him to do, I think he got better every game. He’s got a chance to have a very special career at Penn State.”

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