Who will win the Penn State quarterback job?
O'Brien told reporters that Ferguson was "ahead" of Hackenberg due to his experience and jump-start with spring ball, but continued to say that he'd let the two battle it out this summer.
It almost seems inevitable now that Hackenberg will be given the reigns, however—the true freshman hasn't even taken a practice snap with the Nittany Lions and still has starter status.
Besides, he was the No. 1 Pro-Style quarterback for the class of 2013 (247Sports) and has been heralded by scouts and media since his commitment in February of 2012.
Hackenberg already has elite arm strength and an outstanding combination of footwork and passing mechanics that will all be developed by one of the more offense-savvy coaches in the NCAA in O'Brien.
He has the prototypical size (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) to run a Pro-Style offense, but really fits into O'Brien's fast-paced scheme with his deceptive ability to move around in the pocket and using his feet to keep plays alive.
In three years as a high school starter, Hackenberg completed 414-of-800 (51.2 percent) of his passes, meaning there is still plenty of room to improve on timing and learning how defenses react to the ball. But his 5,509 yards (13.3 yards per completion) and 56 touchdowns (score per 14.3 attempts) show that he knows how to move the chains.
Hackenberg has his work cut out for him though, because Ferguson isn't going to just roll over and give in to the pressure. He's going to try and defy the odds and de-crown his counterpart, who seems to have already been named King of Happy Valley.
Although he was just a two-star prospect coming from Ridgeview High School in California, Ferguson was listed as the No. 5 JUCO transfer Pro-Style quarterback after a successful season at College of the Sequoias.
Ferguson threw for 2,614 yards, 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his only season there before committing to Penn State in mid-December. He also carries a rock-solid arm and good consistency with his decision-making inside the pocket.
His throwing motion and release is a little unorthodox, but he puts good zip on the ball and provides his receivers with a catchable pass.
While no one really knows who will come out on top by the end of August, we do know this: one of the two have to. Hackenberg and Ferguson are the only two scholarship quarterbacks now after the departure of Steven Bench, who transferred to South Florida after the spring game.
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