When Jake Waters heard his cell phone ring Wednesday afternoon, his first instinct was to let the call go to voice mail. He was eating lunch in a noisy cafeteria at Iowa Western Community College, and he figured it would be too difficult to talk to anyone in that environment.
Even though Kansas State co-offensive coordinator Del Miller was calling, likely with good news, Waters was hesitant to answer. Fortunately, he did at the last possible moment.
“My head coach came up with a smile on his face and said, ‘Answer it.’ So I did,” Waters said. “I’m really glad I did, because they offered me a scholarship. I’ve been talking to them for a while, and I was hoping they would pull the trigger. I told my friends and they started yelling and chanting and letting everyone know. It got really loud and I was just sitting there and put my head down. It was cool to see everyone so happy for me.”
Waters, a junior college quarterback from Council Bluffs, Iowa, has been waiting a long time for moments like that. Coming out of a tiny high school, he wasn’t offered a scholarship at any level. This week, he has been offered four — all by Division I programs, with Kansas State sticking out.
Akron offered first, then came North Carolina State, next was Florida Atlantic and most recently K-State.
Waters took an unofficial visit to Manhattan in June, and was impressed by everything the Wildcats had to offer. He is a big fan of Bill Snyder, he liked the facilities and he enjoyed talking with Collin Klein at the end of a practice.
“I know more about Kansas State than the other schools and it is the only school I visited, so in that way I guess you could call them the favorite,” Waters said. “But I’m going to do my homework. I’m happy that these schools are interested me. I am going to give them all a chance.”
Waters will likely continue to pick up offers as the season goes along. He said Penn State coaches are scheduled to watch him practice next week. And Fresno State and Auburn have also expressed interest.
Iowa Western is off to a 5-0 start and ranked No. 1 in the junior college top 25 poll. Waters is a big reason for that success. He has thrown for 1,444 yards and 18 touchdowns. He can make plays outside the pocket, too.
“I’m a pass-first guy, but I can extend the play with my legs,” Waters said. “I’m pretty accurate with the football and try to make good decisions.”
Waters hopes to make a few official visits in November and December when Iowa Western’s schedule allows him to do so. He hasn’t made any decisions on where he will go or when he will make a commitment.
“I’m going to talk to my coach and mom and dad and see what I should do and how long I should take,” Waters said. “It’s been a crazy couple days. I’m going to let it cool down.”
A return trip to K-State seems likely, though. The Wildcats are also recruiting his teammate Devon Nash, a defensive end, and they sometimes talk about how fun it would be to continue playing together.
He also likes their offensive system, and the playing time he could compete for with Klein in his final season.
“I’m definitely looking for an opportunity where I can compete for a starting job right away,” Waters said. “That’s what is going to be a big part of my decision. It could boil down to, where can I go in and play right now? With Collin leaving and that position wide open, it’s definitely appealing.”