December 13, 2012
Jake Waters, rated by some recruiting services as the top junior college quarterback in the country, chose Kansas State over Penn State on Thursday.
A two-year starter at Iowa Western Community College, Waters just finished leading his team to a national championship this season.
The decision leaves the Nittany Lions with still just one quarterback -- Steven Bench -- on the roster heading into spring practice.
The Lions are expected to sign a top high school quarterback in Christian Hackenberg in February, but he won't arrive on campus until the summer. Penn State may now explore other junior college options in order to have another arm competing for the starting job during spring ball.
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien had visited Waters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Monday and nearly swayed Waters to come to State College.
Yeah, for sure, Waters said at his announcement at Iowa Western. Just the other day, I told the (Penn State) coaches I was pretty much leaning there. But I thought it over and something clicked (with Kansas State).
Waters had an opportunity at either school to take over for a prolific departing senior in Matt McGloin at Penn State and Collin Klein at Kansas State. Waters found himself on the phone with Klein, a Heisman finalist, on Saturday, just minutes after the trophy ceremony ended in New York.
Waters said the ability to play in bowl games at Kansas State -- Penn State remains under a postseason ban for three more seasons -- was not a deciding factor. But he admitted that it would be awesome to know that I have a chance to (compete for another national title).
The Big 12 champion Wildcats will face Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl in January in one of the season's most anticipated games.
At the end of day, I felt it in my gut, Waters said of his decision. I had a long talk with the Lord last night, and in my gut, it was the best thing for me as a student and as a player. And I just went with that.