Penn State Nittany Lions: Jake Waters

Final Big Ten Power Rankings

January, 15, 2014
Before we close the book on the 2013 season, here's the final version of the Big Ten power rankings. Bowl performances were factored in, as well as how teams finished the season, although there aren't too many changes from the previous version of the power rankings.

Let's get started ...

1. Michigan State (13-1, previously: 1): The Spartans rallied to beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO to record their team-record 13th victory. Thanks to stifling defense and improved quarterback play, Michigan State had its best season since the mid-1960s. The Spartans return QB Connor Cook and most of the skill players on offense, but must replace a lot of production on defense.

2. Ohio State (12-2, previously: 2): After winning 24 consecutive games to open the Urban Meyer era, Ohio State dropped consecutive games on big stages. The Buckeyes' defense couldn't slow down Clemson's pass game in the Discover Orange Bowl, and turnovers doomed Ohio State in the second half. Meyer's defensive staff will have a different look with new assistants Chris Ash and Larry Johnson.

3. Wisconsin (9-4, previously: 3): Like Ohio State, Wisconsin ended its season with a thud and a sloppy bowl performance against South Carolina. The Badgers received big performances from running backs Melvin Gordon and James White but couldn't stop South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw or hang on to the football.

4. Nebraska (9-4, previously: 6): All roads lead to 9-4 for Bo Pelini's team, but the Huskers are much happier to be there after an upset victory over Georgia in the Gator Bowl. An improved defense did a nice job of keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone, and seniors such as wide receiver Quincy Enunwa stepped up in their final college game.

5. Iowa (8-5, previously: 4): A stout Hawkeyes defense kept the team in the Outback Bowl, but the offense never truly got going and lost starting quarterback Jake Rudock to injury. Iowa had its chances for a quality bowl win, but has to settle for a strong regular-season improvement and raised expectations entering the 2014 season.

6. Penn State (7-5, previously: 7): An impressive victory at Wisconsin marked the final game of the Bill O'Brien era. New coach James Franklin has brought a lot of enthusiasm to Happy Valley and should sparkle on the recruiting trail. His management of talented quarterback Christian Hackenberg and an undermanned defense will loom large this fall.

7. Minnesota (8-5, previously: 5): The Gophers had by far the most favorable bowl matchup but didn't reach the end zone for more than three quarters against Syracuse. Although a special-teams play ultimately doomed Minnesota, the Gophers' inability to establish a better passing game was a key element in a very disappointing loss. Minnesota should expect more in 2014.

8. Michigan (7-6, previously: 8): You knew it would be tough for Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl when quarterback Devin Gardner hobbled off of the plane on crutches. But the Wolverines never gave themselves a chance in the game, caving defensively against Kansas State's Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett. A blowout loss ended Michigan's highly disappointing season and marked the end for offensive coordinator Al Borges. Can coach Brady Hoke get things turned around in 2014?

9. Northwestern (5-7, previously: 9): Northwestern is awaiting confirmation that running back Venric Mark can return for a fifth season, and should get it in the next few weeks. Mark will help an offense that never truly got on track last fall and might need to be more of a pass-first unit if Trevor Siemian remains the starting quarterback. The defense returns nine starters.

10. Indiana (5-7, previously: 10): It took a little longer than expected, but coach Kevin Wilson fired defensive coordinator Doug Mallory last week as Indiana again will try to upgrade a perennially porous unit. The Hoosiers will be more experienced throughout the roster this fall, but the defense must change the script under new leadership as they enter the brutal East Division.

11. Illinois (4-8, previously: 11): While Wilson made a change at defensive coordinator, coach Tim Beckman is sticking with Tim Banks and the rest of his staff for a pivotal 2014 season. Like Indiana, Illinois will be more experienced on defense but must replace Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback. A favorable schedule gives Illinois a chance to make a bowl game.

12. Purdue (1-11, previously: 12): No Big Ten team is more excited to start working this offseason than the Boilers, who are rebuilding through the quarterback spot with Danny Etling and early enrollee David Blough, who officially arrived this week. Purdue must improve along both lines and replace veteran defenders such as cornerback Ricardo Allen and tackle Bruce Gaston Jr.

Juco QB Ferguson commits to Penn State 

December, 14, 2012
Junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson (Bakersfield, Calif./College of Sequoias) has reversed course and said he committed to the Nittany Lions today.

When asked what the deciding factor was in his decision, Ferguson said it was quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher. "I felt amazingly comfortable with [him]," Ferguson said. "And I really want to play for him."

He becomes the 18th commit -- and second quarterback -- of Penn State's 2013 class. He will compete for the starting job as soon as he arrives on campus.

NittanyNation Friday mailbag

December, 14, 2012
Welcome to NittanyNation's first-ever mailbag! We asked you to tweet your questions this week, and we've selected three to answer in-depth -- starting with the question we received most.

Brian Wess (@bwessfootball) writes: What's Penn State's next move for a quarterback? Tyler Ferguson?

Josh Moyer: You hit the nail right on the head, Brian. I spoke with Ferguson and his junior college coach briefly Thursday, and that's exactly what's at play here. Penn State made it clear Jake Waters was Plan A. When that fell through, the staff contacted Ferguson and offered him a scholarship as their Plan B.

Ferguson said he'll commit to a school at some point this morning. He's on the West Coast, though, and plays for Bakersfield (Calif.) College of the Sequioias, so it could still be a few hours. At this point, though, it's pretty clear that Penn State is Ferguson's top choice. Houston already has three quarterbacks as part of its 2013 class, while PSU has just one scholarship QB for the spring. You do the math.

Ferguson's addition would help PSU -- but he's no Waters. Iowa Western's QB threw one interception for every 111 attempts; Ferguson one for every 29 attempts. Steven Bench had a head start against Waters in learning Penn State's pro-style offense, but Bench has to be considered a much higher favorite to start in 2013 now that another quarterback -- likely Ferguson -- is coming on instead.

(Read full post)

Juco QB Ferguson will pick Friday 

December, 13, 2012
Junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson (Bakersfield, Calif./College of Sequoias) said in a message he will decide Friday morning whether to commit to Houston or Penn State.

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Waters' KSU commitment impacts PSU 

December, 13, 2012
Fans in Nittany Lions country let loose an audible gasp when Iowa Western Community College quarterback Jake Waters pulled a purple and gray hat from a plastic bag and fitted it over his head this morning.

He had committed to Kansas State. Some Penn State fans might have paused for a few moments, wondering if maybe he would pull out another cap in some sort of misplaced homage to Antonio Logan-El. ... Nope, after several days of analysts (including this one) saying PSU boasted the edge, the Wildcats pulled ahead when it mattered most.

Jake Waters
Mitch Sherman/ESPN.comJake Waters' (above) pick of K-State puts a question mark on PSU commit Christian Hackenberg's possible redshirt status next season.
Waters, causing a tornado of ecstasy and anger, was slammed by some fans on Twitter and praised by others. He was supposed to be Penn State's Band-Aid, the junior college quarterback who could enroll early, push Steven Bench for playing time and ensure the Lions a successful season, maybe two, before turning over the reins to Christian Hackenberg.

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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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Waters' PSU visit helps narrow decision 

November, 21, 2012
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."

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RB Wimberly enjoys official visit to PSU 

November, 20, 2012
Aaron Wimberly (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Iowa Western C.C.) stood near the 30-yard line Saturday and watched Penn State warm up.

He wore a blue pin -- "No pity for Indy" -- and basked in the "impressive" crowd of 90,358 during his first official visit. He had plenty lot of questions spinning around his head, but he said the coaching staff answered them all.

"Penn State, me taking a visit opened my eyes on things and I'm just taking it slow," he said. "I'm still committed to Iowa State, but I'm really seeing things and checking everything out."

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Rounding out PSU's 2013 recruiting class 

November, 14, 2012
With national signing day just three months away, Penn State has been making a late push for more 2013 commitments.

NittanyNation takes a closer look at five prospects who already hold offers and could soon make their decisions:

CB Deondre Singleton, Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer

Competing schools: Air Force, Appalachian State, Marshall, Miami (Ohio)

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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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