Christian Hackenberg will have one thing on his mind when he competes in the Elite 11 finals — completions, completions, completions.
The quarterback from Virginia’s Fork Union Military Academy, who issued his verbal commitment to Penn State on Feb. 29, will be one of 24 rising seniors who will compete in the event from July 18-22 in Redondo Beach, Calif.
“I just want to show that I’m a consistent quarterback, that I’m consistently bringing good stuff,” Hackenberg said. “I just need to keep throwing the ball well.”
The Elite 11 is a quarterback competition sponsored by ESPN that features 24 of the nation’s top rising seniors. Hackenberg, who is rated the top quarterback in the ESPN 150 for the class of 2013, competed in the Las Vegas regional, but was beat out by Zack Greenlee from Stockton, Calif., who earned an automatic bid to the finals with his MVP nod in Las Vegas.
With the six regional MVPs and six at-large selections filling out the first 12 slots for the finals, Hackenberg was forced to sweat it out until it was announced Thursday night on ESPNU that he was one of the final 12 selections to round out the top-24.
“There’s a bunch of good QBs,” Hackenberg said. “There’s a lot of kids improving on the field. I’m looking forward to going out there and I’m shooting to finish in the top-11. It’s gonna be fun.”
It also provides Hackenberg the opportunity to improve Penn State’s standing as a quarterback school.
Though uncertainty has surrounded the position for the past three years, it figures to be a point of emphasis in new coach Bill O’Brien’s offense.
As the cornerstone of O’Brien’s first recruiting class, Hackenberg is hoping to change the perception of quarterback play at Penn State.
“I’m definitely going to go out there and represent my high school and Penn State,” Hackenberg said. “I think Coach O’Brien is going to start a new era with the quarterback position and has made it a priority.”