Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg will be a team captain this season, becoming the first sophomore in school history to serve in that role.
Players and coaches voted in the process, and new coach James Franklin announced the results Wednesday morning. Hackenberg and senior guard Miles Dieffenbach were named co-captains on offense, while senior linebacker Mike Hull and senior end C.J. Olaniyan were named co-captains on defense.
Hackenberg (6-foot-4, 234 pounds) threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns as a true freshman last season, and has a huge upside. NFL Media draft analyst Bucky Brooks touted Hackenberg's "impressive" arm strength, anticipation and awareness in May, writing that "NFL scouts are already salivating about his potential at the next level."
Hackenberg is a prototypical dropback passer and played at a high level for then-coach Bill O'Brien last season, especially considering Hackenberg didn't arrive on campus until June and wasn't named the starter until mid-August. O'Brien's departure does create a bit of doubt as to how well Hackenberg will continue to develop this season under the new staff. Penn State's offensive coordinator is John Donovan, who doubles as the tight ends coach and had been coordinator at Vanderbilt. The Nittany Lions' quarterback coach is Ricky Rahne, who spent the past three seasons as Vandy's quarterback coach. None of his Vandy quarterbacks stood out; then again, none had anything close to the talent that Hackenberg possesses.