Reed Option Recruit of the Week: Jake Zembiec
James Franklin has assembled one of Penn State’s strongest classes in years, not only in terms of talent, but in terms of character strength as well. This crop of recruits was built on the backs of some of the early commitments, who naturally took leadership roles within the class. Few embody this mindset more than quarterback commitment Jake Zembiec.
Zembiec, a 6’3”, 211-pound quarterback from Rochester, NY (Aquinas Institute), is widely known as one of the country’s premier prospects at the position. His rankings precede his reputation, as he has earned a four-star rating from both ESPN and Rivals and a three-star rating from 247 Sports and Scout. He was recruited primarily by Coach Rahne, Coach Gand, and of course Coach Franklin, all of whom he remains close with to this day. His high school team is undefeated through seven games this season on the back of its star player, Zembiec.
As a quarterback, Zembiec prides himself on his leadership ability both on and off the field. A humble and family-oriented kid, Zembiec says he got his lead-first mindset from his parents, who told him “if you take care of business in the classroom and be a good person first and foremost, football and everything else will fall into place.” He describes himself as “calm when we’re up big, and calm when the game is tight,” which could be a big reason why his teammates follow him so naturally.
His stats this season should be exciting for Penn State fans to see. With the emergence of Christian Hackenberg’s running game, it’s becoming clearer that Franklin hopes to employ the dual-threat quarterback in his offensive schemes. Franklin desires a pass-first quarterback who also has strong running ability when the need arises, and Zembiec’s stats demonstrate this. He has passed for more than 1,500 yards in just seven games, throwing for 22 touchdowns. When the offense breaks down however, Zembiec has used his feet to run for 120 yards and a touchdown, his longest run going for 25 yards. This skillset overlaps dramatically with Penn State’s two backups, Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens.
As a Penn State commitment, Zembiec has represented the school well. He earned an invitation to The Opening (Nike’s annual football competition) and its sister competition Elite 11. The Elite 11 competition pins the nation’s best quarterbacks against each other in competitions of leadership and skill. At both competitions, Zembiec wore his blue and white in support of Penn State. Zembiec says of the experience that “they build you as a man off the field, because that’s what makes a good quarterback in a lot of ways.”
Zembiec is one of the vocal leaders of this class, which is going to be important in the months approaching national signing day. Cornerback Lavert Hill and kicker Quinn Nordin (both Michigan natives) have recently taken visits to Michigan and Zembiec’s leadership could be key in their final decisions. He is currently working on recruiting Florida wide receiver Tre Nixon and Pennsylvania defensive back Damar Hamlin the hardest.
Zembiec was officially accepted into Penn State this past week and intends to enroll early as a student-athlete in January. All signs point to Zembiec being an early Penn State leader both on and off the field, and his name is definitely one to remember in the near future.