Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, January 2, 2016
Penn State standout quarterback Christian Hackenberg is set to take his talents to the NFL.
Following Penn State's 24-17 loss to Georgia in Saturday's Taxslayer Bowl, Hackenberg announced that he will forgo his senior season and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft.
Hackenberg finishes his Penn State career as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in school history. The former Big Ten Freshman of the Year is PSU's all-time leader in multiple passing categories, including career completions, yards, and 300-yard passing games. In Penn State's Big Ten regular season finale against Michigan State, Hackenberg passed Matt McGloin as the school?s all-time leader in passing touchdowns with 48.
?Christian bled Blue and White from the time he stepped on campus three years ago,? Head Coach James Franklin said. ?He will certainly be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in program history. But for all of his accomplishments on the field, he will be also be remembered for his leadership off the field during a trying time in program history. Christian has the tools to excel at the next level and the future is bright for this young man.?
Despite his outstanding career numbers, Hackenberg had a tough time staying on his feet during his college career at Penn State. He was sacked 82 times in the last two seasons, which was 14 more than any other player in college football. He was sacked 38 times this season alone.
"It's been an awesome ride," Hackenberg said of his Penn State career. "Tough way it kind of ended, but I bleed blue and white, and this place means the world to me."
Penn State standout defensive tackle Austin Johnson also announced he will forgo his senior year and enter the 2016 NFL Draft.
Johnson sent out the following tweet following the Nittany Lions' loss to Georgia.
Nittany Nation, Coaches and my Brothers. pic.twitter.com/bkuhyJnfRA— Austin Johnson (@AJohn15) January 2, 2016
The 2015 All-Big Ten second team selection started every game each of the last two seasons and 28 contests overall in his career. He finished this season with 78 tackles, 6.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss.
Here is a look at some Twitter reactions following Hackenberg and Johnson's announcements.
It was an honor to play with such a great senior class & @chackenberg1 @AJohn15 #WeAre ???— Saquon Barkley (@saquon) January 2, 2016
Much respect for @chackenberg1, was a major piece of the puzzle in keeping PSU afloat and bowl eligible. Good luck as he follows his dreams— Sam Ficken (@sficken1) January 2, 2016