The widely held assumption regarding Penn State's vacant starting quarterback job has been that though JUCO early enrollee Tyler Ferguson got a head-start in spring practice, blue-chip true freshman Christian Hackenburg would have a legitimate shot at the job once he arrived on campus.
As it turns out, that assumption was 100 percent correct. Despite Hackenburg reportedly still being more than a week away from even arriving in State College, he was listed as a co-starter on the Nittany Lions' post-spring depth chart, which Bill O'Brien released Thursday. The depth chart is avaliable here as a PDF.
Ferguson is listed first, but with an "OR" beside his entry and Hackenburg underneath. O'Brien said in the wake of his team's spring practice and Blue-White Game, per pennlive.com, that Ferguson's experience in spring drills put him "ahead" of Hackenburg, but that he would let "the competetion" for the job "play out" over the summer and fall.
Sophomore Steven Bench's decision to transfer to South Florida after he slipped behind Ferguson in spring leaves Ferguson and Hackenburg as the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the Nittany Lions' projected 2013 roster.
Ferguson signed with Penn State this spring out of College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., having thrown for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012, his only season at the school.
247Sports ranked Hackenburg, a consensus five-star, the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the class of 2013. The 247Sports composite player rankings also called Hackenburg the No. 13 player in his class at any position.
With neither boasting a snap of college experience, either one will have his work cut out for him filling the shoes of Matt McGloin after the former walk-on's stunningly effective 2012 season. But after O'Brien's success last fall, nearly anything seems possible.