Four-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg got the Class of 2013 ball rolling when he committed to Penn State last week, a class that has since seen the addition of two other highly rated prospects. Hackenberg is a pro-style quarterback from Fork Union Academy in Virginia, and is excited to get to Penn State and compete right away, a chance that Coach O'Brien promised Hackenberg.
After a weekend of celebration and excitement, we caught up with Hackenberg.
"You know, I think ultimately I had the same feeling about Penn State as I did when I left the Junior Day, two weeks later. That atmosphere and the school in general drew me in the most out of all the schools I have been to. You can't beat the tradition at Penn State.
"After everything that has gone on there over the past year, I want to be the guy, I want to build the class that sort of ushers in a new era and brings back that Penn State pride."
Additionally, Hackenberg answered some of your questions, as he was excited to see what the Penn State fan base had to ask. His answers are below, followed by some other topics we covered.
Many of you had similar questions, so I tried to ask questions that incorporated the common themes. As such, some of the questions have been slightly altered from their original submission.
1. What was it about Coach O’Brien that sold you on Penn State? What was his sales pitch? (ICEICETHATGUY13)
Hackenberg: "Just getting the vibe from [Coach O'Brien], his personality and how I feel that he's going to handle the players when I get up there for spring practice, was up there with some of the best coaches that I've sat down and talked to. He sold me on being able to come in there and being able to compete for the job at Penn State. You can't beat 110,000 every Saturday."
2. What are your expectations for the style of offense at Penn State? Did any of the coaches convey to you what the on-field product might look like? (Success With Honor Always)
Hackenberg: "Coach O'Brien said he's going to bring in that same style of attack [as he ran at New England], in terms of being multiple [looks] - shotgun, under center, just bringing everything in, basically what the Patriots do."
3. Did you encounter any negative recruiting, and if so, what were the negative aspects used? How did you react to it if it did occur? (CvilleLion)
Hackenberg: "Not really, it happened a little bit, but that sort of comes with the territory. But you have to react like you would in any sort of business situation. I said 'I'm committed to Penn State, and that's where I'm going, I'm holding true to my commitment.'
"I want to be a guy that commits somewhere, and that's where I'm going. I don't want to switch three or four times, I'm going to Penn State next year."
4. In all of your interaction with Penn State since the Jerry Sandusky scandal broke in November, did anyone acknowledge the scandal or talk to you about it? If so, what sort of reactions did you have to it, and do you think there is any sort of stigma attached to the Penn State football program because of it? (PSUdevon)
Hackenberg: "We didn't, I think that the new staff is sort of moved on, and are focused on what they need to do to win football games. There really wasn't a lot of conversation about it; the atmosphere and the vibe up there is a lot different than you would expect coming off of something like that.
[on recruits looking at the program differently] "I'm not, I know there are a couple of kids that mentioned it, but I don't think it's a huge factor. I think kids are going to realize after what happens in the next couple of weeks in terms of commitments that a lot of us don't care about it and are ready to go play football and put Penn State back to where they need to be in college football."
5. Now that you are committed to Penn State, will you be an active recruiter for other Class of 2013 recruits? If so, who are you talking to the most? Any other Virginia recruits, or other players in the DC/Virginia/Maryland area? (rmj147)
Hackenberg: "I'm definitely going to be one of the better recruiters for Penn State, that is going to be one of the things I work on on the side. My main focus right now is getting ready for next football season and finishing up this baseball season. I'm definitely going to recruit, and it's going to be interesting.
"I'm talking to [four-star PA OL] Mike McGlinchey, [four-star PA TE] Adam Breneman, [three-star WV WR] Ryan Switzer. Those are the three guys that I'm talking to on a relatively daily basis. I know Breneman and Switzer, I talk to every night. I'm starting to reach out to other guys, [five-star PA WR] Robert Foster and guys like that.
"[Four-star VA RB] Derrick Green, I know that I'll have a chance to talk with him and sort of get on him. I really haven't talked to a lot of other kids from the area."
6. What do you plan to study at Penn State? Any thoughts on a major yet, or a general course of study you are interested in? (ShamefullyObsessed)
Hackenberg: "I think I want to do business or communication, I'm pretty sure those are the ones that I'm looking at right now."
After answering these questions, Hackenberg spoke about playing time once he gets on campus next year. With Rob Bolden, Paul Jones, and Steven Bench already on campus by then, the quarterback depth chart is pretty full.
"You can't really promise a lot of that stuff at the quarterback position because there is only one of them on the field. But [Coach O'Brien] definitely told me that I'm going to have the opportunity to come up there and compete for the job my freshman year. So I guess it's sort of in my control when I play."