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Penn State commit has local ties

Published March 01. 2012 05:01PM

Penn State football landed its first big football commitment for the 2013 season. Highly-touted quarterback Christian Hackenberg first broke the news to 247 that he decided to attend Happy Valley. It just so happens the big score for the Nittany Lions hits close to home.

Hackenberg, a 6-4, 215 pound, consensus four-star quarterback out of Fork Union, VA has strong family ties to the TIMES NEWS area.

Hackenberg's parents Erick and Nikki are both Marian Catholic alumni and members of the Marian High School Hall of Fame.

Erick, a 1988 graduate from Marian served as the team's quarterback his junior and senior year. He passed for 159 completions for 2,909 yards and 26 touchdowns in his career as the Colt's signal caller. He was also selected to play for team Pennsylvania in the Big 33 game in 1988. His football talents earned him a full scholarship to attend the University of Virginia. Erick later transferred to Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, where he went on to quarterback the Crusaders, passing for 3,088 yards in two seasons.

Nikki Hackenberg, a 1990 Marian graduate played volleyball for Lehigh University. She was an All Patriot League selection and multiple award recipient through a four-year career, including Outstanding Athlete of the Year in volleyball by Lehigh. She returned to her Alma Mater in 1996 as head volleyball coach where she took the Fillie netters to unprecedented levels, launching a program that now has become one of the finest in the state, amassing a 160-28 record as coach of the Fillies.

Christian's grandparents Dr. Richard Miller, a Carbon County Hall of Fame inductee in 2011and Barry Hackenberg a long-time football coach in the area in past years are also prominent athletic figures in the TIMES NEWS area.

Christian Hackenberg chose Penn State over Alabama, Florida, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Connecticut, and Rutgers. He passed for 2,164 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and is a top-five rated pro-style quarterback by most recruiting websites. Hackenberg told, a Penn State football website, that he wanted to follow in his parents footsteps of attending a good academic institution.

"I'd have to say it's academics, then football," Hackenberg said. "Both of my parents, one of them went to UVA and one of them went to Lehigh, had good educations. So that's what they're big on for me."

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