Penn State, Kansas State in the hunt for JUCO QB Jake Waters

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Bill O'Brien (right), Stephon Morris (left). (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

What do Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein and Penn State coach Bill O'Brien have in common?

They are both working on recruiting a 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback from a junior college in Iowa. His name is Jake Waters and it's clear why the Nittany Lions and Kansas State Wildcats are vying for his commitment.

Waters, an Iowa native, put up video game-esque statistics this season for Iowa Western Community College, which won an NJCAA national championship. First, it's important to note that the Reivers program came into existance just five years ago. That's an impressive rise to prominence. And a lot of credit goest to Waters, who broke Cam Newton's record for completion percentage (73.3) by a junior college quarterback this season.

Waters also threw for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and tallied only interceptions. Needless to say, he grabbed the attention of several major D-I programs.

That brings us to New York City, on the night of the Heisman Trophy ceremony. 

Just minutes after Johnny Manziel was announced the winner, Klein - the Kansas State quarterback who finished third in voting - got on the phone. He was calling Waters. As far as recruiting pitches go, that's not too shabby.

NC State, Alabama, Auburn, Akron and Florida Atlantic have reportedly shown interest in the quarterback. Reports also Waters has narrowed down his list, and Penn State and Kansas State are near the top. Waters took an official visit to Kansas State over the weekend. Waters visited Happy Valley during the Penn State-Indiana game.

And on Monday, O'Brien gets to make one more passionate pitch.

"Coach O'Brien coming to the house today!!" Waters (@JWaters15NET) posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon. 

Shortly after, the Twitter account @GoReivers posted: "Giving tours? @JWaters15NET just showing @PSUFootball Coach Bill O'Brien around campus, no big deal. #PrettyBigDeal."

Charlie Fisher, Penn State's quarterbacks coach, traveled to Council Bluffs in October to watch Waters work out. Fisher then reportedly offered Waters a scholarship right after practice.

Penn State is in need of a starting quarterback next season. Matt McGloin graduates leaving incoming sophomore Steven Bench as the only current scholarship quarterback on Penn State's roster. Virginia prep school star Christian Hackenberg is committed to Penn State, but cannot enroll until next fall. Ideally, O'Brien and his staff would like to redshirt Hackenberg and have Bench or Waters take the reigns next season.

So what does Waters want to do?

His Twitter feed has been active lately. Most notably, Waters has been retweeting fans making their own personal recruiting pitch. The breakdown of retweets seems about 50-50 for Kansas State and Penn State. 

There is no timetable on his decision. 


-Emily Kaplan

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