This time, the trending quarterback teacher and new head coach didn’t get his man.
Last winter, soon after taking over at Penn State, Bill O’Brien received a verbal commitment from arguably the top pro-style high school quarterback in the nation.
But earlier today, the No. 1 junior college quarterback around, Iowa Western’s Jake Waters, picked Kansas State over the Nittany Lions.
Waters also had received a late recruiting push from the Alabama and Texas coaches.
In his press conference today, Waters said he told Penn State coaches he was leaning to the Lions a few days ago, but then something just “clicked” for Kansas State.
The announcement is a big blow to Penn State, who desperately needs another quarterback to provide competition for sophomore-to-be Steven Bench. Since Virgina prep star Christian Hackenberg isn’t scheduled to arrive on campus until the summer, Bench is currently the only scholarship QB on the roster.
Even more bad news? The Lions’ next potential recruiting option, junior college quarterback Tyler Ferguson from Bakersfield, Calif., has apparently decided to play for Houston. He was considering a Penn State recruiting visit this weekend.
Meanwhile, what Penn State missed out on is this: a 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback who put up staggering passing numbers while leading Iowa Western to a JUCO national title.
He put up these kind of one-season numbers: 39 touchdown passes against only three interceptions; 3,501 passing yards (292 per game); and a stunning 73.3 completion percentage (244-of-333).
He would have enrolled in Penn State next month, making him eligible for spring practice.
The recruiting snub comes only a few days after Penn State received pledges from four recruits for the 2102 and 2013 classes, including standout Harrisburg linebacker Zayd Issah.
But the real intrigue would have centered around the coach/quarterback combination.
O’Brien always was known as an offensive mind during his previous college coaching days, then gained national attention as the position coach of the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, a certain NFL Hall of Famer.
O’Brien further increased his quarterback reputation by helping turn former Penn State walk-on Matt McGloin into the Big Ten’s top passer.
Now, the Lions may have to go the next few months with only Bench, a possible late recruiting gem from Cairo, Ga., who played in only one game this past season.