PENN STATE NOTEBOOK: Nittany Lions QB recruit Zembiec gets nice surprise


The trip out to Los Angeles last week was nice and all. The wait after that? It was a long one, especially for a teenager.

Still, Jake Zembiec will take it.

Penn State's quarterback recruit for the 2016 class learned Monday he received be the 18th and yes, final, invitation to the prestigious Elite 11 showcase next month in Oregon.

The Rochester, New York, native had competed in the semifinal stage of the event out in California last weekend, hoping to reach the last stage. The folks running Elite 11 certainly drew out the suspense, handing out only one or two invites at a time spread out over the course of the past week.

But the group withheld the final announcement until Monday, leaving a dozen or so prospects waiting for the decision.

It came Monday.

After the five day event in early July, 11 of those 18 will get the official Elite 11 designation as the country's top signal-callers who are entering their senior seasons.

Zembiec will see some familiar faces out west.

The Elite 11 showcase is part of The Opening, Nike's annual summer combine of elite recruits. As such, fellow Penn State 2016 commitments Shane Simmons, Miles Sanders and Lavert Hill will also be in attendance.

Zembiec has a three-star rating in the 247Sports Composite, but with more exposure at Elite 11, his profile figures to increase. One of the things that hurt Zembiec in that regard was that he missed much of his junior season at Aquinas Institute with an injury. His team was even forced to forfeit a playoff win because of an obscure rule that questioned his postseason eligibility.

It could be the start of a busy few months for Zembiec, who has told recruiting services he will look to graduate early and enroll at Penn State in January.

Tough luck: Not breaking news: the Nittany Lions have had a surprising amount of trouble finding a reliable punter since Anthony Fera was pulling double duty back in 2011.

Now that the scholarship restrictions are completely lifted for the program, the coaches would like to change that. So for the first time in a few years, the Lions are in the market for scholarship specialists.

Aside from chasing one of the country's top kicker recruits in Michigan's Quinn Nordin, the Lions recently offered a punter in Georgia's Blake Gillikin.

According to a report Monday from 247Sports, Gillikin was scheduled to visit Penn State with his mother, but their connecting flight was canceled and the family never made it.

With a decision looming and an offer coming from none other than Georgia, the Lions might be waiting for that special teams help a little longer.

As it stands, the last specialist to join the Lions on national signing day was Sam Ficken back in February 2011.

Not too shabby: As it turns out, former Lions safety Mark Rubin will be remembered for more than beating Michael Phelps in the pool as a kid.

(Oh, and this).

Shame they don't have the full call of just how irritated Steve Jones was getting as the refs struggled to determine who recovered the fumble. "Still waiting! C'mon!!"


Rubin has done quite well for himself in the real world and just won his fourth straight decathlon among his Wall Street brethren. An odd concept, perhaps, but it raised seven figures for Sloan-Kettering, the famed New York cancer center.

For me, I always remember Penn State coaches plugging him in at receiver as a true freshman midway through a repugnant 2004 season. Recall that the starting wideouts to open the year were Gerald Smith and Terrance Phillips. Tailback Tony Hunt actually led the team that year in receptions.

Ah, yep.