Penn State Nittany Lions: Kansas State Wildcats

Early Offer: Show Me State resurgence 

November, 5, 2013
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: What a difference a few months make for the Missouri Tigers and their efforts to land top talent in St. Louis; one of the nation’s top tight end prospects is slated to announce on Friday, and he still has everybody guessing; is Tennessee in line to steal a commitment away from one of the best defensive tackles in the junior college ranks?

Missouri comes up big in St. Louis
There has been a lot of grumbling by Missouri fans over the last year about a perceived lack of success in St. Louis by Gary Pinkel and the Tigers. However, after the Tigers’ fast start on the field this season many of those worries diminished. They have all but evaporated now after St. Louis DeSmet four-star offensive lineman Andy Bauer committed on Monday. The Under Armour All-American had been a long-time commitment to Ole Miss after originally committing to the Tigers early in the process. He decided again on Monday to reverse course for what looks to be the final time, helping give the Tigers their first ESPN 300 commitment and second four-star prospect.

The Early Offer: Don't worry TCU fans 

September, 10, 2013
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Despite a cryptic tweet that worried TCU fans, four-star linebacker Jimmie Swain IV has good news for Horned Frog faithful; Pittsburgh scores a nice recruiting victory over Penn State; and Oregon State and Washington State commits and an ESPN Junior 300 prospect will be on display Friday on ESPNU.

Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH. Feel free to email us as well at or

@UMKirwin12: Which teams are in place to pull in the best group of recruits at each position?

Tom VanHaaren: If I can use my own criteria, then I’ll give you a few answers. Right now Michigan has the No. 1-ranked cornerback in Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) and is still in the conversation with three ESPN 300 defensive backs, so I would give the secondary narrowly to Michigan because of Peppers.

Ohio State is right there with the commitment of Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) and the potential to add Cleveland Glenville teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith.

I think Ohio State takes the cake for offensive linemen, but I’m going to throw a few curveballs for a few other groups. I like Northwestern’s running back haul with the 31st- 36th- and 51st-ranked backs already in the class. That’s two four-star running backs and one who's close.

I also like Penn State’s wide receiver haul led by No. 6 ranked athlete De'andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro) and Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown), the No. 21-ranked receiver.

Michigan’s wide receiver class is also very good, so I’d include the Wolverines on the list.

There is a reason Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern are all ranked higher than the other Big Ten teams, though. They have the best classes in the conference, which means they have the best players.

@buckeyfan686: If a highly rated offensive tackle commits to Ohio State, do you think they still go after Chad Mavety since he is more likely ready to play next year?

Brad Bournival: That is an excellent question and one that really depends on the numbers. If the Buckeyes can grab ESPN 300 tackles Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) or Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon), that would give them a force up front for the next four years with ESPN 300 guard Demetrius Knox (Ft. Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) and ESPN 300 tackle Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle) in the mix already.

Add Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville) and Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) and the 2014 class is versatile as well. That said, if Ohio State can massage the numbers and still stay under the NCAA sanctions, getting an attractive piece like Mavety might be too good to pass up. He’d essentially have three seasons to play two, so yes if the piece is there and the Buckeyes can work some magic, they could still take six offensive linemen in this class.

@MeechignAdbug1: Who is winning the recruiting battle right now (for 2014), Urban Meyer or Brady Hoke?

VanHaaren: If you are judging strictly by which team gained a commitment from a prospect that held an offer from the opposing school, then it’s a tie. Both teams have seven commitments from prospects that held offers from the other team.

If you look at the rankings of those players, then it’s Michigan. Peppers is the biggest at No. 2 overall.

Ohio State has seven ESPN 300 commitments, but five of them held Michigan offers. Michigan has nine ESPN 300 commitments and six held Ohio State offers. There are still some prospects out there who have yet to make commitments, which could swing it in either direction. Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) still has Michigan in it, and could very well end up a Wolverine. We’ll have to wait until signing day for the final answer, but right now I would say Michigan is leading the race. Who rounds out Ohio State’s recruiting class?

Bournival: First let’s go through the locks, who I believe to be four-star athletes Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus) and Lattimore. After that, I really think inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) is part of this class, as is Erick Smith. Then you have to start looking at the numbers crunch. I think they miss on Prince and Bookser and nab Mavety. That leaves room for maybe two more, though I don’t know if the Buckeyes will use them. I still think defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln) picks Ohio State, and the Buckeyes could take either tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) or wide receiver Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) to round it out, though don’t be surprised if either comes to Ohio State.

@bmartinez51: Peyton Newell is deciding Aug. 30. Does he seem Nebraska bound?

VanHaaren: As you mentioned, the defensive tackle is announcing his decision on Aug. 30 and will be deciding at his high school at 2:30 p.m. local time.

The finalists on his list are Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina. Nebraska fans think they have a good chance, but a few other schools have put up a good fight.

South Carolina would be a tough school to say no to, but Nebraska would be a good fit for Newell.

K-State lands junior college teammates

December, 13, 2012
Jake Waters, arguably the top junior college quarterback in the country, has committed to play for Kansas State. He was later joined in the Wildcats' class by teammate Devon Nash, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end.

Waters and Nash become the 13th and 14th members of the Wildcats' 2013 class. Waters joins three-star recruit Jesse Ertz (Mediapolis, Iowa/Mediapolis), becoming the second quarterback of the class. Waters will enroll early and immediately compete for the starting job.

Waters, who told on Monday that he has held the same favorite "for a few weeks," chose Kansas State over Penn State during an announcement this morning on Iowa Western's campus in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Playing time was a priority for him, and he felt he had the best chance to play early on those two teams.

He made an official visit to Penn State on Nov. 17, and Bill O'Brien paid him and his parents an in-home visit Monday. He met with Kansas State coach Del Miller on Wednesday, after going to an official visit this past weekend.

In 12 games this season, Waters passed for 3,501 yards while completing 73 percent of his passes. He had 39 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

Nash selected the Wildcats over offers from Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Memphis, Nevada, San Jose State, Texas Tech and Western Michigan. He took visits to Arizona State, K-State and was slated to visit Oklahoma State this weekend, but won't anymore.

Iowa Western C.C. announcements chat

December, 13, 2012
Junior-college All-Americans Jake Waters and Devon Nash will announce their college decisions at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday. Waters, a quarterback, is expected to announce between Penn State and Kansas State. Nash, a defensive end, will pick between K-State and Oklahoma State.

RecruitingNation reporter Mitch Sherman will be at the announcement. Follow his updates and engage with RecruitingNation reporters Josh Moyer and Jeremy Crabtree before and after the decisions below.

Jake Waters, Devon Nash set to announce 

December, 12, 2012
Thursday is decision day at Iowa Western Community College.

With quarterback Jake Waters already set to make his college choice known between Kansas State and Penn State, defensive end Devon Nash said Wednesday night that he would also announce his commitment. K-State and Oklahoma State are finalists for Nash.

Waters threw for 3,501 yards, completing 244 of 333 passes with 39 touchdowns and three interceptions, in helping the Reivers to a 12-0 finish and No. 1 final ranking in the NJCAA poll.

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Waters talks visit, to announce Thursday 

December, 10, 2012
Bill O'BrienRich Barnes-USA TODAY SportsBill O'Brien made his in-home visit with talented juco quarterback Jake Waters on Monday evening.
Jake Waters' parents ushered Bill O'Brien inside their home on a frigid Monday, escorting him to the dining-room table where a spread of crackers, brownies and water awaited.

The juco quarterback's starstruck younger brother asked the coach for an autograph, and Waters' parents were eager to pepper the Penn Stater with questions: Could the Iowa Western quarterback start there? What were the academics like? Would he fit in OK since PSU doesn't usually take junior college players?

Waters said he's known "for a few weeks" now whom he's leaning toward. He declined to disclose that favorite -- he said he'll announce his decision Thursday -- but he said this in-home visit and Wednesday's upcoming visit with Kansas State's coaches were more for his parents' benefit.

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Waters receives special call from Klein 

December, 9, 2012
A postscript to today's report on Iowa Western Community College quarterback Jake Waters:

Waters, while on his visit to Kansas State, received a call Saturday night from K-State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Del Miller minutes after the Heisman Trophy was awarded. Miller, in New York, handed the phone to Collin Klein, who finished third in the Heisman balloting.

“I was really surprised that it was Collin,” Waters said. “He just told me that Kansas State was a great place.”

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Juco QB Jake Waters nears decision 

December, 9, 2012
One of the top junior college quarterbacks in the country is ready to make a decision.

Jake Waters (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western C.C.) took his final official visit this past weekend, which went to Kansas State. Now, he will decide between the Big 12 and the Big Ten.

“It’s pretty much K-State and Penn State right now,” the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Waters said.

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Juco DT Combs chooses final official 

December, 4, 2012
Juco defensive tackle Marquel Combs, who claims 50 offers, recently decided where to take his final official visit -- Houston.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect said in a text message Tuesday night that his final visit came down to four schools. He declined to mention those finalists, but Penn State offered him last Wednesday. He'll visit the Cougars on Dec. 14.

Combs (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) already has spent official visits on Kansas, Ole Miss, Washington State and Kansas State. As a result, the Nittany Lions no longer appear to be in the running.

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5 Questions: PSU target QB Jake Waters 

November, 9, 2012
Every week, NittanyNation will pose five questions to a recruit, player, alum or coach about all things Penn State.

This week's subject is junior college quarterback Jake Waters (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western C.C.), Penn State's top uncommitted quarterback target. He'll take an official visit to Happy Valley on Nov. 17 for the Indiana game.

Waters is widely regarded as the nation's top juco signal-caller. Through 10 games, he's posted up video game-type numbers. He's thrown for 3,001 yards, 37 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He's also completing nearly 75 percent of his passes.

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Juco QB Jake Waters adds PSU offer 

October, 9, 2012
Junior college quarterback Jake Waters (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western C.C.) tried to relax at Tuesday's practice.

He knew Penn State assistant Charlie Fisher was watching from the sideline, and he felt as if this was a tryout. The 6-foot-2 quarterback wanted to impress Penn State, to show he was deserving of an offer, so he consciously attempted not to press and just play his game.

Waters felt afterward he succeeded. And he was rewarded when Fisher approached him following practice and finally extended that offer.

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