- Josh Moyer, ESPN Staff Writer
Jake Waters flew into Happy Valley with a backup plan. If he didn't like Penn State, he told himself, he'd schedule an official to NC State.
He's not planning to see the Wolfpack anymore.
"That pretty much narrows my decision down to Penn State and Kansas State with what I saw," said Waters, a juco quarterback out of Council Bluffs (Iowa) Iowa Western. "I felt right at home and thought I could fit in, so I don't think another visit is necessary."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback plans to visit Kansas State on Dec. 7. He hopes to make a decision two or three days after that official.
Waters said his final choice likely will come down to his gut. He doesn't plan to make a large list of pros and cons or analyze both schools. (Even if he did, he said he wouldn't list Penn State's sanctions as a negative.) The quarterback is going more by feel, and he wants to choose the place he feels most comfortable.
"The visit helped a lot," he said. "I had seen Penn State on TV, but to witness it first-hand and meet some of the players and coaches, that really gave me a good idea of what Penn State is all about."
Waters said his favorite part of the visit came Sunday morning when he sat down with Bill O'Brien and Matt McGloin. He was able to pose different questions about the offense, and O'Brien even tested his knowledge about the QB position.
The Iowa signal-caller laughed when asked if he felt like he was taking part in a job interview. McGloin told him how much he enjoyed the offense, and O'Brien simply wanted to talk football.
"He's really, really smart, and he knows football obviously," Waters said about O'Brien. "So it was really cool."
Waters said he was caught off-guard Saturday morning when he first stepped through Beaver Stadium's south tunnel. Fans near the gate screamed his name and begged him to enroll at Penn State. Waters laughed and offered them a thumbs-up.
When he stood near the 30-yard line, fans again clamored for the quarterback to wear the blue-and-white.
"That really stood out, because I never really had that," he said. "That just shows the type of fans they have at Penn State. I thought that was really cool.
"Some people were saying the crowd was kind of down with the Thanksgiving break, but I thought it was awesome to see all those people. That was the most people in a stadium that I've ever seen."
He spent Saturday night with tight end Kyle Carter and wideout Allen Robinson. And he said they helped answer one lingering question about the school: Will some PSU players transfer after this season?
"I asked a bunch of them and Coach O'Brien, but they said that wasn't the case," Waters said. "I know coming back with the offense, they're going to be just as good if not better next year. So that was big for me, knowing all the players are going to stick with it."
Waters knows he has a difficult decision ahead of him. He's preparing for the national title game Dec. 2 and has his Kansas State visit shortly thereafter. Through 11 games, he has completed 72 percent of his passes for 3,194 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Whether he decides to enroll at Kansas State or Penn State, he figures to be in the discussion as the starting quarterback. He's not sure where he'll wind up, but he'll know three weeks from now.
"To be honest, this was my first official visit, so I don't have anything to compare it to," he said, "but it was everything I imagined it would be and more."
12dMitch Sherman and Brian Bennett