Christian Hackenberg has wanted to be a quarterback in the NFL for as long as he can remember. As a former five-star recruit who went on to play at Penn State, he has been on the right track. After a stellar freshman season in which he threw for 2,955 yards with 20 touchdowns, Hackenberg was pegged as a future first-round pick, the type of player who could lift an entire franchise.
Then adversity hit. Over the next two years Hackenberg struggled to replicate his 2013 success, and his draft stock dipped as a result. His journey began to mirror that of other top-flight quarterbacks before him: He was scrutinized from every possible angle, with scouts questioning if he could live up to his lofty billing.
In the fourth episode of Draft Season, a Sports Illustrated podcast miniseries, SI’s Lindsay Schnell visits Hackenberg and his family to get their thoughts on his path to this point. The NFL draft is right around the corner. How does Hackenberg feel he has been treated? And what are his expectations moving forward?
Draft Season will take listeners behind the scenes of one of the most anticipated events in sports, and will offer a look into the experience of a different prospect every week. Each pick is a player. Each player has a story. This is Hackenberg’s.