There wasn’t originally a plan for an update this week, but Penn State has been hard at work. Any time the staff offers not one, but two quarterbacks in a day, an update is necessary.
First, Charlie Fisher was at Iowa Western University checking out JuCo quarterback Jake Waters. Following the practice, Penn State joined NC State, Kansas State and others as teams to offer Waters a Division 1 scholarship. Jake would be a player who would sign in February and join the team for the 2013 season.
Admittedly, I’m not all that familiar with how junior college players count against the scholarship limit. It’s possible that Jake would count against the limit of 15, but would be enticing because his eligibility would not tie up four years of scholarship. Steven Bench and Garrett Venuto are the only QBs on the current roster who have eligibility left for next year. By all accounts, standout recruit Christian Hackenberg will be signing in February but has expressed interest in redshirting. Without the addition of a player like Waters, that may not be possible. Iowa Western CC’s football team is currently ranked #1 in the country.
Later yesterday, Penn State also extended an offer to the first quarterback of 2014. Wheaton, Illinois QB Clayton Thorson is not yet rated, but has offers from Iowa, Northwestern and Illinois. He admits that he could see himself playing at Penn State and that “the offense is a big draw.”
I was a bit shocked by the offer as I had not yet heard of Thorson, but Fisher and O’Brien must see something they like in the 6’4″ 195 pound junior. 247 Sports lists Clayton as a pro-style QB while Rivals calls him a dual threat. His film shows that when he runs, he does it very well, but he is definitely a pass-first quarterback.
When he starts receiving his rankings, which you can be sure is coming, he may have 4 star potential. I’d be shocked if any of the big services list him below a three star.
I saw some speculation on Twitter about these offers having something to do with Christian Hackenberg and it’s my opinion that is not the case. Offering a 2014 quarterback just makes sense and the JuCo offer is a clear attempt to gain depth. From everything I know and I am told, Hack is a solid commitment.
In what would not be news at most places, here’s walk-on kicker story… Penn State extended an offer to NJ kicker/punter Chris Gulla to become a preferred walk-on after he was on campus for the Ohio game in early September. He is set to graduate from high school this spring. Chris doesn’t currently have any scholarship offers so chances are that he’ll be walking on somewhere. The perceived open competition at Penn State may be enticing.
Defensive back Malcolm Cook, who committed to Virginia in July, plans on visiting Penn State for the Ohio State game. He camped in Happy Valley over the Summer and at one point had interest in the Nittany Lions. It’s hard to say if that interest still exists or if Cook is just making the trip with his teammate, Christian Hackenberg, but if he’s interested, I would imagine the PSU staff will reciprocate.
Look for an extensive update the week before Ohio State visits Penn State, as that will be one of the most heavily visited games in recent memory.
CLASS OF 2013 COMMITS (Click for commitment stories, film, and more):
Brandon Bell LB
Jordan Smith DB
Kasey Gaines DB
For all of the latest on the Penn State Nittany Lions, follow VBR Lead Editor Tim Tolley on Twitter.