Penn State's Freshman QB Christian Hackenberg looks to impress against Kent State

Penn State's Freshman QB Christian Hackenberg looks to impress against Kent State

For most 18-year-old Penn State students, game day in Happy Valley consists of rolling out of bed at 8:00 am, throwing on a blue and white football jersey, chugging some Gatorade, and finally heading over to the Beaver Stadium parking lots. What awaits these students is another action-packed day of tailgating, cheering, and hopefully celebrating with 100,000 other screaming fans.

For freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the game day routine is a bit different. Then again, he is not like most 18-year-old Penn State students. He’s 6’4” and 220 pounds. He has an absolute canon of an arm. He also happens to be the starting quarterback for the Nittany Lions. With the first day of fall marking week four of the season, the Penn State community is quickly learning that the kid can flat out play.

Despite a bitter loss last weekend to Central Florida, Penn State can roll into its week four matchup reassured by the great play of its young quarterback. The game day butterflies are beginning to fade, the matchups are becoming clearer, and the game is slowing down for Hackenberg. Through the team’s first three games, the big freshman has calmly settled into the offense throwing for an impressive 851 yards and four touchdowns at a 71 percent completion rate. Oh yeah, and three of his four touchdowns came on completions of 45 yards or longer. Not bad for a player who arrived to the team in June.

On Saturday Hackenberg will lead the Nittany Lions to face a struggling Kent State team that has gone 0-10 in Big Ten matchups over the years. Unfortunately for the Golden Flashes, that record is not likely to improve much this weekend. Oddmakers have projected Penn State to win by three touchdowns against a struggling and desperate Kent State defense. Of course Vegas odds mean nothing to Hackenberg and Nittany Nation. The team is hungry and its quarterback is ready to prove on the field that he is the real deal.

If the home team’s offense can avoid third-and-longs by staying productive on first and second down, look for the offense to roll. Head coach Bill O’Brien acknowledged that appropriate play calling should keep his guys in more manageable situations. Expect Hackenberg to connect early and often with standout receiver Allen Robinson who has already amassed 300 yards receiving so far this season.

It’s worth noting that Hackenberg has already twice received the honor of Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while Bill O’Brien believes the quarterback has only earned himself a 'B' rating through three weeks. Come Monday, don’t be surprised if the promising freshman collects a third Big Ten award and an 'A' from his coach.

Heading into next week, Penn State will have a bye before it kicks off Big Ten play against Indiana.

Kickoff today is set for 3:30 on the Big Ten Network.

Yeah, Joel Embiid is healthy

Yeah, Joel Embiid is healthy

Have any doubts about Joel Embiid's health?

Well take a look at this. 

Working on rips into quick spins with the brodie @joelembiid! #100skills100days #unseenhours @adidashoops

A video posted by Drew Hanlen (@drewhanlen) on

How about now?

Of course, this isn't live NBA action, and it is against 5-11 Drew Hanlen, a skills coach and consultant, but it's impressive nonetheless.

 

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley: Sixers can be 'really good, really quickly'

Charles Barkley is jumping on the Sixers bandwagon.

"I think the Sixers gonna get really good, really quickly, but it all depends on (Joel) Embiid," Barkley said. "They're not gonna win a championship the next couple years, but I think they can really become a perrenial playoff team in the next three years."

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. There are a lot of "ifs" according to Barkley. 

Most of those "ifs" ride on the health of center Joel Embiid. If the big man gets healthy, and the Sixers can resolve the "glutton of big guys," Barkley likes the Sixers chances.

"I think the most important thing they need to figure out is if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. ... I like (Jahlil) Okafor and I like (Nerlens) Noel, but they gotta figure out if Joel Embiid is going to be healthy. 

"I like Ben Simmons, but that team's got a long way to go," Barkley said.

To hear more of Barkley's thoughts on the Sixers' future, watch the full video above. 

 

 

Sources: Eagles to sign former Villanova LB Don Cherry and former Alabama S Nick Perry

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The Associated Press

Sources: Eagles to sign former Villanova LB Don Cherry and former Alabama S Nick Perry

The Eagles have a serious depth problem at linebacker, and they're looking at a local prospect to try to fix it. 

The team will sign former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry on Sunday, pending a physical, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. ESPN's Adam Caplan first reported the deal.

Cherry, 21, first signed with the Bears after going undrafted in the spring, but was cut by Chicago in June. 

The 6-1, 240-pound Cherry was an All-CAA selection as a sophomore, junior and senior. During his time on the Main Line, he was credited with 331 tackles, 46 1/2 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception. 

Even with Cherry, the Eagles are still light in the depth department at linebacker. After starters Mychal Kendricks, Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham, the team has Najee Goode, Deontae Skinner, seventh-rounder Joe Walker and a couple of other undrafted free agents. 

After cutting wideout Jonathan Krause on Friday, the Eagles had three vacancies on their 90-man roster. They're filling another of those openings with former Alabama safety Nick Perry, according to a league source. The perry deal was first reported by Al.com's Matt Zenitz. The 6-1, 211-pound Perry spent last season on the Ravens' practice squad after going undrafted in 2015. 

Eagles training camp kicks off Monday, and the first full-team practice is Thursday.