Penn State was hoping for some insurance at the quarterback position Thursday, but the team didn’t get it.
Jake Waters, the nation’s top junior college signal caller, announced he will continue his career at Kansas State next season, choosing the school over Penn State.
“I’m going to do what’s best for me in my gut, and I’m going to be a student-athlete,” Waters told reporters at a press conference Thursday morning. “And I think that’s best to be a student-athlete at Kansas State University.”
Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions’ coaching staff made a push for Waters within the past two months, and the 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback tweeted earlier this week that O’Brien was visiting him at his home in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
This was no easy decision for Waters, who said he was up late talking to Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier on Wednesday night and said he liked both schools. Waters even said he was favoring Penn State just a few days ago, but after some more consideration, he decided to take his talents to Manhattan, Kan.
“Just the other day, talking with the coaches, I was pretty much leaning [toward Penn State],” Waters said. “But I just thought it over again and something clicked. I think God just showed me a sign that K-State was the place for me.”
Waters was recently named the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Player of the Year. While leading Iowa Western to the NJCAA National Title, Waters threw for 3,501 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions, while completing 73.3 percent of his passes.
At Kansas State, Waters will be eligible to play next season and has a shot at the starting job as the team will look to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein.
Meanwhile, O’Brien and Penn State are still looking for answers about quarterback depth as 2012 starter Matt McGloin will graduate later this month. The Lions are currently set to enter the spring semester with just one quarterback on their roster in Steven Bench, who played in two games as a true freshman this season.
Four-star quarterback recruit Christian Hackenberg is verbally committed to Penn State, but can’t sign with the school until February and won’t be able to join the team until after the spring semester.
Kelly named Eddie Robinson COY
Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly was named the winner of the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Thursday. O’Brien, the 2012 Big Ten Coach of the Year, was one of nine finalists for the honor.
Kelly led Notre Dame to a 12-0 regular season in his third year and his squad will face No. 2 Alabama in the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7, 2013. The award was voted on by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).