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James Franklin May Have Inadvertently Revealed Christian Hackenberg's NFL Plans

Christian Hackenberg interviewed on his future.


The past two seasons have not gone as expected for Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg. After a promising freshman season in a pro-style offense under then-coach Bill O'Brien, Hackenberg hasn't found his comfort zone working in the framework of head coach James Franklin's spread scheme. 

Still, Hackenberg's prototypical size and skill set make him an attractive option for NFL teams looking for a quarterback in this year's draft if he were to declare. Popular opinion has been that Hackenberg will forego his senior season, but his head coach may have taken all of the remaining drama out of his decision.

Speaking with an assemblage of reporters yesterday, Franklin appeared to inadvertently reveal Hackenberg's intentions to leave school early. 


"I think there is an argument to be made that our strength right now is at wide receiver and running back," Franklin said while answering a question. "Our tight end position is growing, I think our offensive line position is growing and we have three quarterbacks that we're excited about. Being able to have those quarterbacks in a position to make plays and be able to spread the field and to be able to spread the's going to allow our offensive line to continue to grow and take some of that pressure off."

As beat writer Ben Jones and others have noted, the Nittany Lions currently have five quarterbacks on their roster. Three of them -- Hackenberg, Tommy Stevens and Trace McSorley -- are on scholarship, and Penn State has a commitment from highly-touted 2016 prospect Jake Zembiec. 

So, was Franklin referring to his three current scholarship quarterbacks being around next season? Or was he including Zembiec in that group, meaning Hackenberg won't be there?

Time will tell.