Christian Hackenberg had a strong run as a quarterback at Penn State. He also holds the distinction of bridging the gap between Bill O’Brien and James Franklin after playing for both coaches in Happy Valley.

Hackenberg got his start with the Nittany Lions as a freshman in 2013. That would prove to be O’Brien’s final season with the program as he left for the NFL and the head coaching job of the Houston Texans for 2014.

Recently, Hackenberg revealed how he received the news of O’Brien’s departure in a never-been-told story. Hackenberg admitted he was at a New Year’s Eve party and was in the process of doing a keg stand when his phone began to buzz.


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“I was doing a keg stand, actually,” Hackenberg said on the Saturday Down South Podcast hosted by Connor O’Gara. “I was doing a keg stand, and my phone starts buzzing. I thought it was my buddy calling me from the house next door, and I start kicking my legs like, ‘Let me down.’ I pick it up, didn’t even look at the caller ID and I’m like, ‘What’s up? What’s up?’ And it’s ‘Hack.’ I go, ‘Oh. Coach, what’s goin’ on, man?’ And (O’Brien) goes, ‘I’m going to Houston.’”

“Then I walk in the house, it’s all over ESPN and it was super awkward the rest of the night,” Hackenberg said. “I was just like, ‘I’m over this.’”

Hackenberg would stay at Penn State to play for Franklin from 2014-15 before departing for the NFL in the 2016 Draft.