If you took a look at the recruiting breakdowns that were profiled here in the past few days, you'll note that one of the main priorities for the staff in the Class of 2013 is a top-level quarterback. Luckily, there are a number of high quality quarterbacks in the regional recruiting grounds, including two elite passers from Virginia.
Already earning a four-star (93 grade) rating from 247Sports, Christian Hackenberg is currently sitting on eight offers, including Penn State, Alabama, Tennessee (where he is being recruited by head coach Derek Dooley, a friend of Christian's father from their playing days at Virginia), Miami and others. Standing around 6-4, and weighing in around 210 pounds, Hackenberg could be just the man to be the elite signal caller taken in this year's class.
Hackenberg will be at Penn State for the upcoming junior day on February 18, a day that is quickly filling up with some top talent, which now includes five-star Pennsylvania wide receiver Robert Foster. While Foster is considered a long shot for the Nittany Lions, Hackenberg has serious interest in one day playing in Happy Valley.
"Penn State['s offer] came the most recent, and they're the one I'm trying to get in touch with, and get to know the program more."
Hackenberg grew up in Pennsylvania, an early fan of the Nittany Lions, before moving to Virginia to attend Fork Union Military Academy. Both of his parents were Division 1 athletes, with his father playing football at Virginia and his mother attending Lehigh. In addition to inheriting their athletic prowess, Hackenberg is very interested in choosing a school with great academics, just like his parents.
"I'd have to say it's academics, then football. Both of my parents, one of them went to UVA and one of them went to Lehigh, they both had good educations. So that’s what they're big on for me."
While at Fork Union, Hackenberg has impressed fans and scouts, alike, even if the offense they ran during his junior year wasn't exactly his first choice.
"We were forced to go into shotgun this year, because our OL wasn't really strong, we really didn't have much of a run game. My whole high school career I've run the pro-style, you know, work off some play action, throw it 15-20 times a game, up until this year. Ideally, if I had to pick one, I'd like to go to a pro-style offense."
At Penn State, what that offense will look like remains a mystery, but Hackenberg has been keeping an eye on the Patriots, as Coach Bill O'Brien led the team to the Super Bowl with one of the league's most prolific passers.
"The success they've had with Tom Brady, and developing him into what he is now, it's definitely a great opportunity for me."
Penn State's offensive scheme, if it in fact mirrors the play of the Patriots, interests Hackenberg. But he's also interested in attending a school with a family atmosphere, a place he can call home.
"[A family atmosphere] is one thing I'm definitely high on. I want to be able to fit in with the team, be comfortable with the coaching staff."
As for a time frame, Hackenberg isn't in any hurry, but believes in the Potter Stewart method of visits.
"I'll make the decision when i know it; ideally, I'd like to get [my commitment] done this summer, but I'm not going to rush it either."
For the new Penn State staff, getting him on campus on February 18 is the first step towards that goal.