Christian Hackenberg didn't waste any time in letting the world know about his decision over his football future.
The junior quarterback announced to reporters his intention to forego his senior season at Penn State and declare for the NFL Draft in the moments following the Nittany Lions' loss to Georgia in Saturday's TaxSlayer Bowl.
PSU QB Christian Hackenberg declares for the NFL draft pic.twitter.com/BPtaobTWz2
— Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN) January 2, 2016
Hackenberg didn't even play half of Saturday's game, knocked out in the second quarter with a shoulder injury. Backup quarterback Trace McSorley finished the game and nearly led the Lions to a comeback.
Hackenberg had a strange career at Penn State. He was fantastic as a freshman under the tutelage of former Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, completing 58.9 percent of his passes for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
But after O'Brien departed to become the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans, Hackenberg struggled under new Penn State head coach James Franklin. As a sophomore last season, Hackenberg completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 2,977 yards, throwing 12 touchdown passes compared to 15 interceptions. Part of that can certainly be chalked up to what was going on around him. Allen Robinson was the Big Ten Wide Receiver of the Year in both 2012 and 2013 and left for the NFL, and the Lions' offensive line was atrocious last season, allowing Hackenberg to be sacked a whopping 44 times.
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This past season, Hackenberg completed 53.3 percent of his passes for 2,386 yards, throwing 16 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. Hackenberg had a great six-game stretch this season where he threw 12 touchdown passes and zero interceptions. But still, Penn State's offense failed to do much under his leadership, ranking second-to-last in the Big Ten with just 344 total yards a game.
As recently as this past summer, Hackenberg was still being talked up as a top quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, but another unimpressive season negatively affected his stock, and he's no longer expected to be a first-round choice.