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Insider

The Hackenberg file: Games 1-5

8/15/2012
Tom Hauck/ESPNHS

Christian Hackenberg is the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the country, and the coaches who faced him last season can attest as to why.

Four-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) would be the gem of Penn State’s 2013 recruiting class if he stays committed.

Rated the nation’s top quarterback by ESPN and the No. 16 recruit overall in the ESPN 150, Hackenberg could become Penn State coach Bill O’Brien’s next project. Scouts and Hackenberg’s high school coach have lauded his overall arm strength, pocket presence and mobility.

But NittanyNation decided to take it one step further by retracing Hackenberg’s junior season, speaking to each opposing head coach -- along with a handful of defensive backs -- to get their impression of the 6-foot-4, 212-pounder. Here are the first five games; games six through 10 will appear on Friday.

Week 1

Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.) 41, Fork Union 6

Opponent’s final record: 4-6

Stat line: 18-of-37 for 197 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions

Georgetown Prep coach Dan Paro

On their success against Hackenberg: "One of the things that assisted us was we were run-oriented. So, I think one of your goals is to keep the ball away from him, and we hit them at the right time of the year. Christian is a helluva talent, and I seriously thought he was a senior out on the field because he was so impressive.

"I think the most important thing we did that day was keeping the ball away from him. I think he was probably a little rusty, but what a great talent. I was hoping he graduated -- but clearly that's not the case."

On whether he has faced other quarterbacks like Hackenberg: "We had a great opportunity to play the quarterback at Gonzaga, Kevin Hogan [who now plays at Stanford]. He was phenomenal and very bright, very smart, knew how to run an offense, and that's what I see in Christian. He's a big, strong-armed kid who knows what he wants to do. He makes adjustments at the line of scrimmage and, with another year of experience ... well, if you're in the game long enough, you wait to get a kid like that. Not many coaches ever get a kid like that, and I've been a head coach for 16 years at Georgetown Prep."