The Hackenberg Snub may have generated weeks of conversation and debate among Penn State fans. But according to Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin, it was smoothed over the day after it happened.
Following Penn State’s 24-17 loss to Georgia in the TaxSlayer Bowl Jan. 2, junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg promptly declared for the 2016 NFL Draft. In doing so, he seemingly thanked everyone ever associated with the Nittany Lion program EXCEPT a certain second-year head coach.
The snub was offered up as proof that the record-setting passer and Franklin had a poor relationship.
Saturday morning, Franklin addressed the subject in a postseason teleconference with PSU beat writers. And he said everything was fine between himself and Hackenberg.
And that Hackenberg actually did give him a “thank you.”
“I’m really happy for Christian and his family and wish him nothing but success as he prepares for his future in the NFL,” Franklin said. “Christian called me the day after announcing and we had a great conversation. He was very appreciative, and thanked me and the staff for everything they’ve done.”
Shortly after the bowl, Franklin headed to the AFCA convention. Right after that, he hit the road recruiting. With PSU holding a big official visit event for prospects this weekend, it marked the first time Franklin was available to speak to the media in person.
But weather issues caused a scheduled press conference at Beaver Stadium to be switched to a teleconference. The first question was about Hackenberg’s decision to move on and the snub.
“I think Christian is gonna go on and do wonderful things,” Franklin said. “I’m very, very supportive of that. But I was glad Christian picked up the phone and called me the next day and we had a great conversation.”
Franklin said he talked to Hackenberg and redshirt defensive tackle Austin Johnson each twice in the weeks leading up to the bowl. Both declared for the draft after the game.
“Christian had a way he wanted to go about doing it and A.J. had a way that he wanted to go about doing it,” Franklin said. “And we were supportive of both of those. So I’m really excited to see what those guys are gonna do — as well as our seniors who have left the program.”