Thanks to Jake for agreeing to talk a bit about his recruitment, about Penn State, about his recent visit to Happy Valley, and about his new Michigan State offer.
Can you give me a general update of what's going on in your recruiting process right now? Any updates with your current leaders?
Penn State's up there, they've always been up there. I had the chance to go there last weekend. But Michigan State is definitely one of my favorites now. Now that they've offered it's a good option. Those two are my biggest right now. I also really love Oklahoma State but it's not affordable to get out to a game and see them. I'm still getting a lot of mail and I'm surprised-well I shouldn't say surprised-but relieved to see everything not die off with my injury.
Let's focus in on Penn State and Michigan State. What is it about each school that draws you to them?
[On Penn State] Well obviously their game day environment, facilities, and the way that their program and the coaches and everyone treat me and reach out to me just shows me how much they want me to be there both academically and on the football team. That's the one thing that separates them, you really feel individually special in that program.
[On Michigan State] I just think about them whenever I see them on TV and hear about them. It's an awesome school. Just hearing Michigan State, being around Michigan State, seeing Coach Dantonio is awesome.
The other thing is that they both can produce quarterbacks and get them to the NFL, and that's in both of their histories.
Tell me about your experience at the Penn State-Northwestern game. It was a little rough to watch with Penn State not playing their best game, but how was your day? Did the game put a damper on anything at all? What stood out to you on your visit?
Well I don't think it really changed the type of day I had. The students are everyone were cheering like crazy right to the end, even when the score was lopsided unfortunately. The place was still pretty loud, and that was awesome to see. Starting from the beginning when I got there, it was the first college game I've been to, it was cool seeing all of the kids, all of the tailgating, welcoming the players off the bus, getting to do all of that stuff, I finally got a feel for it. I got to put myself in their shoes since that'll be me in a few years, and I imagined myself going through that and game day and thinking about how unreal that will be.
Now that Michigan State's offered you, have you started trying to schedule a visit?
I can't make any of their regular season games because their schedule doesn't work out with mine, but if somehow a bowl game works out, we might try that. If not, a basketball game probably, which I'm not complaining about. [laughs]. Eventually I'll be back up there, that's for sure.
Do you have a return trip planned for Penn State yet?
Actually the Ohio State Whiteout game might work out, so we'll see. That would be amazing.
Who are the coaches who are your main contact points for Penn State?
Coach Rahne and Coach Hand. Coach Hand is the coordinator for my area, but since I'm a quarterback I mostly talk to Coach Rahne through twitter and phone calls.
What's their main recruiting pitch for you?
One of the things they preach to me most are the classes that I'm going to be surrounded with, the talent they're bringing in around me in 2015 and 2016, and that I'm going to be surrounded by awesome talent and basically be able to become the man around Penn State. They say I have a bright future with the new coaching staff, and hopefully this staff will figure everything out, and the program will be rolling and I'll be right in the primetime spotlight.
Is there anyone currently committed or on the team already recruiting you?
[2016 5 star commit] Shane Simmons, he talks to me a lot, he's a bug in my ear, but he knows the process. Then [2015 4 star commit] Juwan Johnson, he's a laid back guy who I talk to. Me and Hackenberg talk somewhat frequently, but that's just more about everyday things, catching up sometimes. I think all the other recruits, we have an understanding and a respect for each other and the process.
How does the Wimbush news affect you and your decision?
It's hard to put this in a way that sounds like I'm scared to compete, but Brandon's arguably one of the best quarterbacks in that class, and it's probably the same for me as it is for the other kids in the 2016 class. Looking at that and knowing Hackenberg's going to be leaving, Brandon would have been doing his thing and stepping in. As much as I don't mind going in and fighting for a spot, it would be hard to beat out a guy with his talent when he already knows the system. I would be coming in and having to learn the new system and perform physically, and I just think that the next guy they're going to bring in for the 2015 class at quarterback, it's going to be hard to find someone at Brandon's level, because most of those guys are committed already.
How often, if at all, do you talk to the other quarterback recruits in your class? Do you talk at all with Brandon McIlwain or Dwayne Haskins? Knowing that you're all Penn State targets.
Not really, the ones I'm close with in my class are [4 star from NJ] Jarrett Guarantano, [5 star from LA] Shea Patterson, and [4 star from WA] Jacob Eason. Those are the ones I really talk to the most in my class, and we don't even really get into recruiting talk. We more just say what's up, living halfway across the country from each other from those guys. I don't really talk to McIlwain or Haskins.
Thanks again, Jake. You can follow him on twitter at @jakezembiec.