Penn States search for quarterback depth continues.
The Nittany Lions suffered a recruiting loss Thursday as Iowa Western Community College star Jake Waters selected Kansas State over Penn State. Waters made the decision during a commitment ceremony with teammates at Iowa Westerns football building.
The decision leaves sophomore Steven Bench as the only quarterback currently projected to participate in Penn States spring drills. Virginia prospect Christian Hackenberg, one of the nations top high school quarterbacks, will not begin practicing with the Nittany Lions until next August.
Waters was the subject of an intense recruiting battle. Pen State coach Bill OBrien visited Waters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, earlier this week. Kansas State arranged a phone conversation between Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein last Saturday night. Alabama and Texas were among the other schools that recently contacted Iowa Western about Waters.
A first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American, Waters completed 244 of 333 passes 3,501 yards and 39 touchdowns this season. He led Iowa Western to a 12-0 record and the schools first NJCAA title. After announcing his decision Thursday, Waters was named NJCAA Player of the Year.
Waters spent late Wednesday night discussing his options with Iowa Western head coach Scott Strohmeier. Waters called his choice a gut decision.
I obviously like both schools, I connected with both coaching staffs and I can see myself playing at both, Waters said. But at the end of the day, its what I felt in my gut. This was the best thing for me as a student and a player.
Kansas State finished the regular season 11-1 and claimed the Big 12 title. The Wildcats meet Oregon in next months Fiesta Bowl.
Penn State went 8-4. The Nittany Lions werent eligible for a bowl game because of a four-year NCAA-mandated postseason ban. Waters said the postseason ban represented a little factor in his decision.
Both schools will enter the spring with quarterback vacancies. Matt McGloin completed 270 of 446 passes for 3,271 yards in his final season at Penn State. Bench played sparingly as McGloins top backup, completing 2 of 8 passes for 12 yards in two games.
Penn State has 17 commitments for 2013, although players who enroll in January count against 2012 scholarship numbers. Penn State is limited to signing 15 prospects per year from 2013-16 because of the NCAA sanctions.