Local college spotlight from the NFL Scouting Combine:
The joy of the NFL Scouting Combine, and the NFL Draft after that, is the speculation. Name a player, pretty much any player, and someone will have them tied to a particular NFL team for one reason or another. In some instances there is logic behind it, in some it’s a fun guessing game that keeps readers and viewers tuned in.
“I am here just trying to be the best prospect I can be and impress as many football teams as I can,” said Hackenberg. “I want to come out and be able to compete. It’s a great venue to be able to run, jump, throw the football, meet with teams and get to know people on a personal level, GMs, decision makers. I think that is great. For us to be able to get out in front of people like that, I think that is great. That is what I am most excited about.
“I just want to be the best player I can be. Whatever I have to do, the steps I have to make, and the sacrifices I have to make in order to make sure I get there. I am willing to do it. That is my mindset going into it. I just want to be the best football player I can be and help whatever team I land at win as many games as possible.”
Hackenberg played for O’Brien his freshman season with the Nittany Lions, finishing the year with 231 completions for 2,955 yards and a career-high 20 touchdown passes.
“I had an accelerated learning curve. I didn’t get to early-enroll,” said Hackenberg. “Had a great bunch of guys around who had been in the system. They definitely helped bring me along. It was a great experience overall for me. The system fit great and I had a great opportunity to come in and play and throw to a guy like Allen Robinson. I had a lot of people around me who made it a good transition for me and allowed me to grow and own the offense.”
Penn State ran a pro-style offense that year, which looking back was perfect for the young quarterback.
“Having that base, playing in that system was huge,” said Hackenberg. “Talking terminology-wise, the tape that I watched, and things that I had access to. Having that at 18, having all of those tools available and being able to tap those resources really helped me develop a good base in terms of football knowledge, defensive knowledge.”
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