The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Hackenberg had a fifth star added to his profile, and was elevated from the No. 5 quarterback in the nation to the No. 2 quarterback.
"It's a honor," Hackenberg said. "I don't pay a lot of attention to the rankings but it's nice to get recognition for the work that you do and how you play."
Hackenberg joins Cedar Cliff High (Camp Hill, Pa.) tight end Adam Breneman, who is already enrolled at Penn State, as five-stars in the class. They are two of four players from the Scout 300 committed to the Nittany Lions.
Hackenberg, who is the No. 33 prospect in the class, always had a strong arm, had good mobility in the pocket and read defenses well. However, as a junior he tried to force too many passes in an offense that became reliant on throwing the ball and he had 16 interceptions to go with 20 touchdowns.
As a senior, that changed. Hackenberg completed 156 of 291 passes (.536) for 2,144 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
"I think I have a strong arm, I'm big and I can extend plays with my feet, and I can scramble and pick up a few yards when I need to," he said. "One of the things I really worked on was my footwork and my ability to move in the pocket."
Two areas of concentration during the offseason was the need to make better decisions and improving his footwork, and Hackenberg was effective in developing both of those parts of his game.
The next step is getting on Penn State's campus and playing for coach Bill O'Brien and Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher, and Hackenberg said playing for both of them factored into his college decision.
"That is one of the reasons I'm excited to play for coach O'Brien and coach Fisher," Hackenberg said. "They can help me take that next step in developing my game and in making me a better quarterback. I cannot wait to get there in the summer and start working with them."
Hackenberg will have to wait a few months before he gets there. He is set to enroll in June, but got a taste of life as a Nittany Lion when he made official visit with the rest of Penn State's commits last month.
"It was great to see everybody and spend some time with them," he said. "We had a great job and it was a lot of fun to spend time with them and talk to the coaching staff."
Hackenberg wasn't the only Nittany Lions commit to make a big move in the rankings.
Red Bank Catholic High (Little Silver, N.J.) four-star defensive end Garrett Sickels, a four-star prospect, moved from No. 297 to No. 229.
"I'm humbled," Sickels said about the jump. "I just did my best to improve each week."
Breneman, who missed his senior season after tearing his ACL, moved from No. 39 to No. 42. Penn State outside linebacker commit Zayd Issah of Central Dauphin High (Harrisburg, Pa.) slid from No. 234 to No. 241.