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Christian Hackenberg’s Dad: ‘I’m Not Saying He Will Or Won’t (Return)’

Now that Bill O’Brien is gone, two central questions remain for the future. The first, obviously, is who will the head coach be next year. The search is already underway and is expected to last two weeks, with names like James Franklin, Greg Schiano, and Al Golden leading the conversation. The second question is how many members of the team will leave with O’Brien and how many 2014 recruits will stay committed. Unlike last time, the players don’t have the benefit of transferring without losing a year of eligibility, so don’t expect any sort of mass defection from the current squad — if there is any exit at all.

None of these players are more than perennial freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, of course. But unlike his 2013 recruiting class counterpart Adam Breneman — whose Tweet last night sounded like a commitment — Hackenberg’s father told Audrey Snyder of the Patriot News that he’s in wait-and-see mode.

Here are some of the quotes from his conversation with Snyder (from her piece here):

  • “I’m probably not going to say what the future for Christian is right now…Obviously Christian chose to go to Penn State and his reasons to go to Penn State were about more than Bill O’Brien or solely the offense they run or the school itself. It was a combination of all of those things.”
  • “Right now we’ll sit tight, see how the school does and how quickly they move forward. As you gather the information you get the facts you need to have.”
  •  “Right now the plan is to continue to move forward and like a lot of kids right now it’s lets see what happens…We’re hopeful it happens quickly and until we have all the information we have to wait. I’m not saying he will or won’t (return) and that sounds bad, but it’s neutral. He’s still enrolled at Penn State, still loves the school but hopefully in the next 7-to-10 days, maybe 14 days we’re able to get all the facts.”
  • “I would think the school has put things in place…It’s a very attractive job because it’s a different situation than it was two years ago. Bill didn’t just right the ship he put the ship sailing in very good waters.”
  • “It is what it is. There’s always a silver lining and people have to step back and not react emotionally and let’s let this thing work itself out.”
  • “Hopefully the next guy coming in is going to be someone who will be a good match for what the skill sets are at Penn State.”

Losing Hackenberg would be absolutely devastating to the program — much more so than actually losing O’Brien. While these quotes seem to indicate caution more than anything, it wasn’t an immediate commitment, which will be important to monitor in the coming weeks, especially after the next coach is named. Although, it seems unlikely that a player as great as Hackenberg would be willing to sit out a year just to play at another school.

Players return to campus in 10 days for the start of the second semester, and it is not yet known if a new coach will be in place by that date.

About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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