Yes, Christian Hackenberg made a few mistakes on Saturday. Yes, he threw some ill-advised passes. Yes, he took a sack or two that he shouldn't have taken. Yes, one of his big completions required Geno Lewis to do his best astronaut impression and defy gravity to remain in the air long enough to catch a deflected pass.
32 for 47 for 454 yards and a touchdown. And it could have been even more! Had DaeSean Hamilton not tripped on one of his deep balls, he had nothing but green in front of him. But even without an extra touchdown to his name, those numbers are insane. Plus, this is all failing to mention his absolutely crucial run for a first down on 4th and 3 during the final drive. He had help from Lewis, Hamilton, and Jesse James on Saturday for sure, but there was no doubt that Hackenberg was the offense.
All over the country, Penn State fans and non-Penn State fans alike have been repeating the same questions. What if he keeps getter better? What if he cuts down the mistakes? What if he learns to throw the ball away once in a while? What if his offensive line improves as the year goes on? What if the running game gets going?
There are so many questions surrounding the growing legend that is Christian Hackenberg right now, and yet there are still plenty of certainties. He is a former five star recruit for a reason. He just shattered the Penn State record for yards in a game in just his 13th outing as a D1 player. He has the type of build that quarterback coaches across the country dream of. He has the arm, athleticism, and potential to be the number one overall pick in a future NFL draft.
Christian Hackenberg is a once in a life time talent. Penn State will likely never see another quarterback with his skill set and potential. So how good will he be? How much will he achieve? To what heights will his college career take him? Will he fulfill what seems to be his destiny, and leave Penn State as their first number one overall pick in the NFL draft since Courtney Brown in 2000?
I believe that Hackenberg will continue to improve. There will still be plenty of hiccups along the way, especially during this season, but improvement will be there. By the time this season comes to a close, I believe Hackenberg will be just out of the Heisman race, due to a turnover number that is a little too high. Next season though, as the offensive line is one year older, the receivers are one year more experienced, and Hack is an upper classman with two years of starting experience under his belt, there will be no one safe in the country. With a bowl/playoff bid likely to be back within the team's grasp for the 2015 season, everyone on the Lions' schedule should be afraid. Hackenberg could be the one to lead this team to their first college playoff, and he might just be the one to win it in his Penn State swan song as he ascends to the number one draft pick by Bill O'Brien and the Houston Texans with a Heisman in his back pocket.
So. What do you think Hackenberg's career will look like? Do you see a Heisman? A victory in a playoff or a notable bowl game? Do you think he will leave after his junior season? Where will he be drafted? I think all of this is worth discussing, so comment on whatever part of his future you would like to.
"It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see." -Winston Churchill