An unlikely success story at Kansas State, Waters wasn't sure he would play football after high school, but after a productive two-year stint at the JUCO level, he set new Kansas State records in 2014 for all-purpose yardage (3,985) and total touchdowns (31), breaking Michael Bishop's previous marks. He operated well in Kansas State's shotgun, zone-read offense and was a clutch performer, but his traits don't cleanly translate to the next level with below average size and arm velocity. He is the type of competitive athlete who can pick up any sport and be successful, working and playing with the confidence that he can do it all. But his physical skill-set will make him constantly fighting for a No. 2 job in the NFL.
A three-sport star in high school with a focus on baseball, Waters flew under the radar as a football recruit and his only offer out of high school was to hometown Iowa Western Community College. He starred two seasons there, set numerous school records and led the team to a national title in 2012, attracting the attention of several FBS programs. He was a three-star JUCO recruit and committed to Kansas State over Penn State. With Collin Klein graduating, Waters won the starting job and filled Klein's big shoes in 2013 as a junior (13 starts), recording 2,469 passing yards and a 18:9 TD:INT ratio. He again started all 13 games in 2014 had his most productive season as a senior with 66.0-percent completions, 3,501 passing yards and a 22:7 TD:INT ratio, earning Second Team All-Big 12 honors.
STRENGTHS: Athletic passer with the legs, mobility and vision to extend plays, pick up chunk yardage and move the sticks as a ballcarrier. Quick feet in his drops with the maneuverability to step up in the pocket, reset his eyes and deliver with a solid base. Gets the ball out quickly, easily changing his arm angles. Efficient with the ball and avoids high risk throws, understanding situations with high football intelligence and focus in crunch time. Tough as nails and passionate competitive drive, playing through pain. Productive two years at the FBS level, setting a new school record for completion percentage (64.1-percent) and total offensive yards per game (260.2), finishing second in career touchdowns (55 - 40 passing, 15 rushing) and third in career passing yards (5,970) - also broke Cam Newton's NJCAA record for completion percentage (73.3-percent) at the JUCO level.
WEAKNESSES: Undersized with below average height and build for the position. Adequate arm strength, but lacks velocity on NFL throws. Low delivery and release point with a side-arm, underhand motion at times, changing his arm angles quite a bit, but not always for a particular rhyme or reason. Suspect pocket presence, not recognizing rushers and playing with some indecision in the pocket, panicking and getting antsy at times. Inconsistent vision and late recognition skills, not seeing the entire field or all 11 defenders. Bad habit of locking onto targets and leading defenders to the throw. Very raw understanding of how to manipulate defenders with his eyes. Below average ball security with eight fumbles the past two seasons.
10/13/2014 - SEPT 8 BIG 12 CO-OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Jake Waters, K-State, QB, Sr, Council Bluffs, Iowa,...Senior quarterback Jake Waters led K-State back from a 15-point deficit to a 32-28 win at Iowa State. He rushed 20 times for a career-best 138 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning eight-yard run with 1:30 left in the game. Waters also went 16-of-29 for 239 yards through the air and totaled 377 yards of offense. He fueled K-State's largest double-digit comeback win on the road since 2010 (North Texas). - Big 12 football