Juco QB Waters Eyes the Lions

But what does Penn State think about him? And did he land an offer from the progrsm? Get the lowdown in our prospect report.

Iowa Western quarterback Jake Waters was one of the hottest recruits on the Juco scene as the calendar rolled into October. And while Penn State took longer than some schools to offer the 6-foot-2, 215-pound prospect, the Nittany Lions are on board with the Waters after quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher evaluated him in person Tuesday.

“I ran into coach Fisher after practice, but I didn't get to talk to him much,” Waters said. “He just said he was really excited about what he saw, and that they were going to offer me a scholarship.”

The Reviers are off to a 5-0 start and ranked number one in the nation, averaging 350 yards through the air per game and 584 yards of total offense. Waters himself has put up 1,444 yards and 18 touchdowns thus far.

But the sophomore's stats now aren't anything near what he imagined they might be two years ago, when he headed to Iowa Western after graduating from St. Albert High in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with little interest from programs at the next level.

“I actually qualified academically out of high school, so my only purpose of going to a JUCO was to get more recruiting opportunities,” Water said. “Iowa Western was just starting up, and I didn't do the camp circuit or anything because of baseball, so I figured this was a great way for me to get exposure. The staff told me they thought I could play at the next level.”

With NCAA sanctions turning some recruits away from the Nittany Lions, Waters said he sees no issue with the challenges facing Penn State over the next few years.

“The way I'm approaching my recruiting is that any school that is interested in me, I'm interested in them,” Waters said. “But Penn State is one of the best programs in all of college football, and with all of that tradition, it would be pretty special to have them offer me.

“I would definitely consider them.”

Penn State already has a commitment from high school star Christian Hackenberg, and he has consistently said he is solid with the Lions. But the only other scholarship QB who will return in 2013 is current true freshman Steven Bench.

So the Lions would love to get one more QB to enroll early, preferably someone who is not just a skilled passer. In that regard, Waters feels he would be a good fit.

“I think my best attribute is leadership,” he said. “I like to stay calm out there when things are good, as well as bad.”

Not that his passing skills are lacking. Waters sits at a 71.3 completion percentage.

“I would say I'm a pretty accurate passer and smart with the ball,” he said. “I can also run when I need to.”

Iowa Western runs a spread offense, but the pro-style offense Bill O'Brien runs at Penn State excites him because of the control it gives to the signal caller.

“They control the whole offense,” Waters said. “The pro type offense is pretty cool, and a lot of colleges may not have that. They may not give their quarterback the control to do all the stuff that Penn State does pre-snap, so that's pretty neat.”

The Reivers have already had their bye week, meaning if he intends to enroll in January Waters will need to use all three of his official visits in late November and early December.

He'll sit down with his family and the Iowa Western coaching staff next week to pinpoint the stops he wants to make. What he wants from a school will certainly help determine that.

“I want to be able to come to a school and compete for the starting job right away,” Waters said. “Also, I want to feel comfortable with the coaches and feel it's a good fit for me. Another thing very important to me is academics, so I will kind of take all that into consideration.”


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