Different is Good for RB Wimberly

The juco prospect had his eyes opened on a visit to Penn State. Are the Lions now in the mix for the Iowa State commit?

Aaron Wimberly is still committed to Iowa State.

But the juco running back is still weighing his options as Iowa Western Community College sits two weeks away from the NJCAA championship game against Butler Community College Dec. 2. As a part of the process, he and teammate Jake Waters, the Reivers' quarterback who is also interested in the Nittany Lions, took official visits to University Park last weekend to watch Penn State blast Indiana 45-22.

“It was a great visit, and a great experience. It really opened my eyes,” Wimberly said. “I wasn't expecting it to be how it was. It was different.”

Different, in this case, was a good thing.

“I've heard a lot of people saying there players were going to be leaving, and recruits were going to go elsewhere. But after talking to the coaches and stuff, I found out that wasn't the case,” Wimberly said. “The other thing I learned was about the bowl situation. They may not be going to one, but the stadium they play in, it's like a bowl game itself every game. Even though it was the start of Thanksgiving weekend, the place was packed with like 90,000. It was packed.”

Wimberly also paid attention to the on-field product, and came away impressed. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, the early enrollee candidate was able to grasp how he could fit into Bill O'Brien's offense.

“They run a great offense. They run basically off the quarterback, and its' based on his decision and on him judging the defense,” Wimberly said. “They pass to the running back, too, which I think plays into the way I play.”

The numbers don't lie. While he leads Iowa Western with 1,092 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, he also has been the most targeted receiver out of the backfield, hauling in seven passes for 72 yards so far this season.

“I think they would use me based on the things I'm good at,” Wimberly said. “I'm good at running in the outside and inside zone, but I also feel like I have pretty good hands, too.”

Of course, statistics and the eye test are a nice barometer, but Wimberly also took note of how Bill O'Brien and his staff could not only utilize him at Penn State -- where he'd have three seasons to play two -- but also how they could propel his career beyond University Park. Both are criteria that Wimberly uses to set apart potential suitors.

“They have a lot of experience on their staff with the NFL,” Wimberly said. “Coach O'Brien comes from the Patriots, of course, and the running backs coach, Coach [Charles] London, coached with the [Chicago] Bears and [Tennessee] Titans. So they know what they're doing. They also told me how I'd fit in with the program, and they told me they'd do some different things because of the back I am than maybe what they are doing now.”

It's still an uphill battle for Penn State, though. Wimberly's upcoming visit to see Iowa State take on West Virginia will give him another look at the Cyclones' program. He'll also take a visit to Boise State Dec. 8.

“I mean, I'm still committed to Iowa State,” Wimberly said. “After I take all my visits, I'll sit down and see what's best for me, and see which program is the best fit for me and help me get to the next level.”

Fight On State Top Stories