Wednesday, February 10, 2016

JUCO QB Jake Waters chooses Kansas State over Penn State

The quarterback who broke Cam Newton's junior college passing record was close to coming to Penn State.

JUCO QB Jake Waters chooses Kansas State over Penn State


The quarterback who broke Cam Newton's junior college passing record was close to coming to Penn State.

Jake Waters, who led Iowa Western to a national championship in the program's fifth year of existence, narrowed down his choices to Kansas State and Penn State. 

He chose the Wildcats.

"I connected with both coaching staffs," Waters, an Iowa native, said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. "At the end of the day it's what I felt in my gut."

Kansas State produced Heisman finalist Collin Klein this season. Minutes after the Heisman Trophy was awarded to Johnny Manziel, Klein talked to Waters on the phone, seemingly giving him a late recruiting pitch for the Wildcats.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien made an in-home visit to Waters on Monday. The Nittany Lions' quarterbacks coach, Charlie Fisher, made trips out to Iowa to watch Waters earlier this fall. The quarterback visted both campuses, including a trip to Happy Valley during the Indiana game.

"God showed me a sign that K-State was the best place for me," Waters said.

The quarterback threw for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and tallied only interceptions this season. He said the opportunity to play in the postseason "definitely" helped his decision.

That leaves incoming sophomore Steven Bench as the Lions' top option for next year. Highly-touted Virginia prep star Christian Hackenberg is committed to Penn State, though ideally the coaching staff would redshirt the quarterback before giving him the reins to O'Brien's complex playbook.

-Emily Kaplan

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About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 30 years, covering covering Penn State football, Villanova basketball and other college sports, along with golf and the Penn Relays. This is his seventh season on The Inquirer’s Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976-84.

Joining Joe this season is Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

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Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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