Coach Says QB Commit Is Athletic, Competitive

Penn State got its 2013 class off to a bang when Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy quarterback Christian Hackenberg committed Wednesday, and his coach spoke to about what the Nittany Lions are getting.

Aside from the 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame and strong arm, Penn State is getting an athletic and highly competitive quarterback in commit Christian Hackenberg.

That is how Hackenberg's coach, Micky Sullivan of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, described his junior signal quarter.

"Everybody sees he's very athletic," Sullivan said. "He's been playing some kind of sports probably since the day he was born. He's very athletic. He's got a good arm, which we all know. He can throw the ball. But he's athletic, and he is very competitive.

"A lot of guys if you put them in 7-on-7 are great players. You put them with a 280-pound guy coming off the edge, they're not quite as good. I think Christian might not be the prettiest guy in 7-on-7, although he's really good, but when that guy is coming off the edge, he's going to stand there and throw the football."

Sullivan also recognized how tough Hackenberg is during a 38-0 midseason loss to eventual state champion Liberty Christian Academy of Lynchburg, Va.

Hackenberg was 15 of 31 for 143 yards and two interceptions in the game, but took a pounding as Fork Union changed its offense during the week because of an injury to its starting running back.

"We went to a pro-style to a spread and … they just flat teed-off on him," Sullivan said. "He just kept getting up. At times we couldn't protect him because they were bringing everybody and they knew what we had to do, and I realized right then he is mentally tough. He is physically tougher than even I thought and he is very mentally tough.

"Plus, he's competitive. He works really hard to get better and he wants to be the best. In that position, and going to that level, personally, I think that's what makes him stand out."

In fact, Sullivan said Hackenberg's competitiveness led to him throwing 16 interceptions (against 20 touchdowns) as a junior.

"One of the things we're working on with Christian, and this is the competitive part, a punt is a pretty good play sometimes," Sullivan said. "Sometimes it was a ball that was dropped, and I think part of it is him trying to put the group on his back and carry them."

Hackenberg completed 171 of 341 passes for 2,164 yards, and has the arm strength to throw deep out patterns. However, Sullivan said a focal point for the future is getting Hackenberg to work on his touch.

"One of the things we worked on last year was slowing it down a little bit," Sullivan said. "He does have that 100 mile per hour fastball, but what we're working on is when you're in high school and playing with kids that are pretty good but they're not all that good, you have to learn to throw a ball they can catch."

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