Penn State Football: How Christian Hackenberg Compares to Matt McGloin

Colin TansitsContributor IMarch 31, 2013

Penn State Football: How Christian Hackenberg Compares to Matt McGloin

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    Quarterback Matt McGloin did some very special things during his time at Penn State.

    His journey from walk-on to the Big Ten’s leading passer in 2012 was well-documented, ending with the Burlsworth Trophy.

    But now, McGloin is gone and top recruit Christian Hackenberg will most likely be the top signal-caller in Happy Valley in the near future.

    With all the success that McGloin was able to have in coach Bill O’Brien’s offense, a comparison between the two quarterbacks seems almost necessary.

    The new season coming up—with all the possibilities for Penn State’s top recruit—is bound to excited Penn State fans.

    So let’s take a look at how the former and the future Nittany Lion quarterbacks compare.  

Arm Strength

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    Edge: Hackenberg

    This one goes to Christian Hackenberg, who has the arms to make all the throws he needs to (see first throw in the video).

    Matt McGloin was able to get the ball where he needed to, but he struggled with down-the-field throws.

    Not saying McGloin lacked in arm strength, but Hackenberg just has a cannon.

    Many of the underneath throws that Bill O’Brien’s offense integrated heavily were McGloin’s bread and butter.

    But Hackenberg has a big-time arm.


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    Edge: McGloin

    Matt McGloin’s accuracy had been one of the biggest problems in his game.

    When Bill O’Brien came, though, many of McCloin's problems seemed to disappear and his completion percentage jumped by almost seven percent to 60.5 in 2012.

    In his senior season at Fork Union Military Academy, according to 247Sports, Hackenberg only completed 53.6 percent of his passes.

    It may be hard to believe, seeing as McGloin’s career was often characterized by a lack of consistency—that is until O’Brien came.

    The numbers don’t lie—McGloin proved to be an extremely accurate passer this year, something that Hackenberg will need to work on.


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    Edge: Tie

    Neither Matt McGloin nor Christian Hackenberg are known for their blazing speed.

    Their 40-yard dash times are only tenths of seconds apart (McGloin: 4.86 and Hackenberg 4.84).

    Nonetheless, straight speed doesn’t always indicate how well a quarterback moves, especially when avoiding pressure.

    McGloin rushed for five touchdowns and was sacked only 21 times in 2012, while Hackenberg rushed for three touchdowns in 2012.

    These guys aren’t fast, but they both prove to be elusive in the pocket.

    There really isn’t a clear-cut better player in this comparison.


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    Edge: Hackenberg

    Christian Hackenberg's size is a vital part of his future as a quarterback.

    At 6’4” and 210 pounds, Hackenberg is able to see over the line easier, which will help the young quarterback read the defense quicker.

    Matt McGloin is a small 6’1”, but still solid at 207 pounds.

    The former walk-on, at times, used his brain and creativity to overcome being undersized.

    Obviously, it wasn’t tough for McGloin, who seemingly hurdled every obstacle in his way during his college career, to overcome being short.

    Luckily for the young Hackenberg, size will not be a problem.

Pocket Presence

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    Edge: Hackenberg

    One of the most intangible skills that Christian Hackenberg possesses is his ability to be comfortable in the pocket.

    His footwork can always improve, but Hackenberg always seems to keep his eyes downfield while still being elusive.

    Matt McGloin, during his collegiate career, continued to improve in this department, but there were still instances even in 2012 where you found yourself screaming “HE’S OPEN!” at your television.

    Hackenberg’s strength is his maturity and poise in the pocket.

    Don’t get me wrong, McGloin held his own against the Big Ten’s top defenses, but Hackenberg is simply the real deal.

Huddle Presence

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    Edge: McGloin

    The way the Matt McGloin and the other seniors at Penn State put the team on their back during a truly dark time in Happy Valley is nothing short of inspirational.

    McGloin went from feisty walk-on to a man guiding his offense during the transition from 2011 to 2012.

    There was no doubt as to who was the leader in the offensive huddle, and McGloin demanded respect and results from everyone (even his center).

    Although Christian Hackenberg's maturity isn’t in question here, whether or not the 18-year-old can come in and earn the team's respect and trust is.

    McGloin’s presence in the huddle was unmatched.

    Here is an opportunity for Hackenberg to prove me wrong, but I think that McGloin’s leadership in the huddle surpasses what Hackenberg can do—at least in 2013.