Thursday, July 10, 2014

Accolades add up for O??Brien

February 19. 2013 9:11PM
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One down. Perhaps three more to go.

Penn State's Bill O'Brien earned his first national coaching honor of the offseason on Saturday when the first-year Nittany Lions coach was named the AT&T ESPN National Coach of the Year.

O'Brien is also a finalist for the Eddie Robinson, Liberty Mutual and Maxwell Football Club coach of the year awards. He won both Big Ten coach of the year awards last month after leading the Lions to an 8-4 record in the aftermath of scandal and sanctions.

In addition, senior linebacker Michael Mauti was named to the AT&T ESPN All-America team. The Big Ten linebacker of the year was one of four linebackers chosen for the ESPN team.

Both O'Brien and Mauti were at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday as the senior class was honored at halftime of the Penn State-Army men's basketball game for their contributions to the school.

Much of the team was in attendance as well with some available to sign autographs.

It was also part of a big recruiting weekend for the Lions as several of the team's top verbal commits like Adam Breneman and Christian Hackenberg took their official visits along with a handful of uncommitted recruits.

Waters watch

National signing day isn't until February, but an earlier decision is approaching for one of the Lions' top targets.

Quarterback Jake Waters just led Iowa Western to the junior college national championship last weekend and will be picking a new school in the next two weeks to enroll there in January.

Waters would be able to play immediately and will have two years of eligibility remaining.

With Penn State having just one quarterback – Steven Bench – returning for spring practice, landing a top-rated and experienced signal-caller to compete for the starting job is a priority for the Lions.

But they face some tough competition, with Big 12 champion Kansas State right at the top of the list. Waters took his visit to Kansas State this weekend and got a little surprise on Saturday night.

So (Wildcats quarterbacks coach Del Miller) called me and it was Collin Klein on the phone 2 seconds after the Heisman ceremony got done, Waters wrote on his Twitter account. That's pretty cool.

Klein finished third in Heisman voting and was invited to New York for the ceremony. The Wildcats are in need of a successor to Klein.

With the regular season over, Waters has also had coaches from Alabama and Texas stop by his Iowa campus to see him.

O'Brien is scheduled to visit Waters himself this week.

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