Hackenberg named to watch lists for O'Brien and Maxwell Awards

Penn State sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg. (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

Penn State sophomore Christian Hackenberg has been selected to preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award and for the Maxwell Award.

Hackenberg, named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013, is coming off a rookie season in which he passed for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns.

The O'Brien Award is presented by the Davey O'Brien Foundation of Fort Worth, Texas, and honors the nation's best college quarterback who also exhibits character, teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.

Hackenberg, of Palmyra, Va., is one of seven sophomores on the 33-player watch list. He is seeking to become the third Penn State quarterback to win the award, joining Todd Blackledge (1982) and Kerry Collins (1994).

The O'Brien Award field will be narrowed to 16 semifinalists on Nov. 3, and three finalists on Nov. 24. The award will be presented Dec. 11 on the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN.

Hackenberg last week was named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given to the nation's outstanding football player by the Maxwell Memorial Football Club of Philadelphia. The winner of that award also will be announced on Dec. 11.

In addition to Hackenberg, five other Nittany Lions are on different preseason watch lists:

-Kyle Carter and Jesse James, Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end.

-Mike Hull, Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker.

-Jordan Lucas, Bednarik Award as defensive player of the year, and Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back.

-Donovan Smith, Outland Award as nation's top interior lineman.

Home opener. Penn State announced that its home opener on Sept. 6 against Akron - James Franklin's coaching debut at Beaver Stadium - will start at noon and will be shown locally on 6ABC and nationally on either ESPN or ESPN2. The Nittany Lions will honor their undefeated 1994 Rose Bowl champions at halftime.