Perhaps Christian Hackenberg’s performance on the field couldn’t lead scouts to a consensus about his NFL future last season.
He’ll get a chance to show them if he has the tools to get it done at the next level in a few weeks, though.
Five Penn State players, including the 6-foot-5 quarterback who is leaving the program a year early, have been invited by the NFL to the Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis from Feb. 24-29. Safety Jordan Lucas and three defensive linemen — end Carl Nassib and tackles Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel — will join Hackenberg.
More than 300 of the top collegiate prospects were invited to the annual showcase, where players participate in position-specific drills and work out in front of coaches, scouts and player development personnel representing all 32 NFL teams. Only two Big Ten teams, Ohio State (14) and Michigan State (seven), have more players invited than the Nittany Lions.
Combine workouts begin Feb. 26. Hackenberg and the quarterbacks will work out the next day, with Johnson, Nassib and Zettel working on the 28th. The Combine winds down with Lucas and the defensive backs performing Feb. 29.
Walk-on earns scholarship: With Penn State by most counts a bit shy of the 85-scholarship limit even after signing day, the coaching staff wasted no time handing a scholarship to arguably the special teams’ most consistent player last season.
Long-snapper Tyler Yazujian was told Thursday morning he would be placed on scholarship for the 2016 season. The former walk-on senior was a CoSIDA second-team Academic All-American last season when he played in every game as Penn State’s long-snapper, making one tackle. Analysis of the Penn State roster, in addition to the 20 scholarship players who signed letters of intent to play for the program last week, indicate Yazujian becomes the 82nd scholarship player for the Nittany Lions.
McGovern finalist: Former Lake-Lehman star and current Penn State freshman Connor McGovern is one of five players in the running for one of the state’s most prestigious awards.
The 6-foot-5 center, who enrolled at the university in January after a dominant career with the Knights, is one of the finalists for the Class A/AA Mr. PA Football award. Fan voting helps determine the winner, and fans can vote at mrpafootball.com/votenow. Two other players who have signed with Penn State — running back Miles Sanders and guard Michal Menet — are among the six finalists in Class AAA/AAAA.