Hackenberg near top of Penn State depth chart

Christian Hackenberg
Christian Hackenberg
Posted: June 14, 2013

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Prized incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg is officially in the Penn State quarterback derby before ever taking a snap.

The post-spring depth chart released Thursday listed Hackenberg and junior college transfer Tyler Ferguson, a sophomore, as the top two candidates to take over the starting job left vacated by the graduation of Matt McGloin.

Coach Bill O'Brien had given every indication in spring practice that Hackenberg would get a chance to compete for the job when preseason camp opens in August.

"He's a talented player, so we've got to see what he can do," quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher at a recent charity golf tournament. "He's got to earn whatever he gets - Coach O'Brien will be the first to tell you that. But he's going to get every opportunity to show why we recruited him here."

Ferguson, a transfer from the College of the Sequoais in California, has the advantage of spring experience after joining the team in January.

Coaches aren't allowed to have detailed contact with players in the offseason, so the quarterbacks are expected to study up on their own.

McGloin, who signed as a free agent with the NFL's Oakland Raiders, blossomed in his lone season under O'Brien to set several passing records.

Hackenberg, who starred at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, has been reading up on Penn State's offense to prepare for preseason camp.

"Matt McGloin made great strides last summer," O'Brien said in a statement Thursday. "Now, he was an older guy and this year's quarterback candidates are younger. So we'll see how they do with that. I think they will work hard, and we'll see how it goes when we start training camp."

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