Franklin sees better days ahead for 'five-tool' talent Hackenberg
Why is Christian Hackenberg viewed by many as a potential high pick in the 2016 NFL draft despite declining numbers that indicate a sophomore slump in 2014?
His head coach has a pretty good idea.
"It’s like in baseball when you talk about a five-tool guy," James Franklin told BTN.com. "He’s got all the things that people are looking for in a quarterback. He’s 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, he can run a 4.7, he’s got a really strong arm, he’s got a really good feel for the game and a mind for it as well, and he works at it because it’s really important to him."
Those things were on display almost immediately upon Hackenberg's arrival in Happy Valley. He threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions en route to being 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Last year was another story, though, as he dealt with a mostly new supporting cast that included an offensive line weakened by graduation and injuries. In 2014, Hackenberg threw for 2,977 yards while his touchdown pass total declined by eight and he threw five more interceptions.
Franklin expects him to bounce back this fall.
"The thing that’s great is that now some of the pieces of the puzzle around him are starting to come into play," the coach told BTN. "I think you are really going to start to see some of the things he’s capable of. Last year, our whole offense, and a big part of his season, was hiding the deficiencies, or trying to. Now, this year, we are going to try and be a little more aggressive, as much as our offensive line will allow us to be."