Penn State lost yet another member of the football team earlier today. Triple threat kicker/punter/kickoff specialist Anthony Fera has decided to return to his home state and become a member of the Texas Longhorns. The rising junior was 14 of 17 on field goals in 2011 while also averaging 42 yards per punt. Look for true sophomore Sam Ficken and junior Alex Butterworth to compete for the kicking and punting duties.
The loss of Fera could have a huge impact on the 2012 Nittany Lions. Fera did not play during the first three games of 2011 and the kicking unit struggled, to put it mildly. Time will tell if others are able to rise to the challenge in Fera's absence.
Fera joins Silas Redd, Khairi Fortt, Kevin Haplea, and others who have left the program. Rumors have also been circling that Justin Brown is strongly considering leaving for Oklahoma.
Updated: Anthony Fera released a full statement on why he decided to transfer:
The past few weeks have been extremely difficult as I've wrestled with the decision on my future. It's been tough to endure, not only for me, but for my entire immediate family back in Texas, and the Penn State football family I have grown so fond of over the past three-and-a-half years. It has been hard to separate the two as my family and I have been accepted and treated so wonderfully by everyone in the Penn State community. For that, we are all truly grateful.
The decision to remain at Penn State has been complicated due to an illness in my family. Shortly before I arrived on campus, the most important person in my life was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), making it more and more difficult to travel each weekend from Texas to see me play. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and I've been afforded the opportunity to give back to my family and make their lives a little easier by transferring to a university much closer to home, The University of Texas.
I love Penn State University, my teammates, my coaches - both present and past - along with all of the great fans who have supported me and my teammates over the years. I made a promise to Coach Paterno and my family the day I arrived on campus to obtain a degree from Penn State University, which with the cooperation of the folks at Texas, I plan to fulfill over the next year. I will always proudly say that I am a Penn State alum!
A new chapter in my life begins next week, and I am very excited to play for such a well-respected coach in Mack Brown, and a Longhorn football program that is traditionally one of the finest in the nation. My family and I had a chance to visit Austin and get to know the coaches and some of the players last weekend. It is a wonderful place and we had a great time. I feel like I can have another extended family in Austin, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of the team and campus community.
I cherish my time at Penn State, but look forward to challenges ahead and the ability to compete on the playing field and in the classroom at another tremendous institution in The University of Texas. I want to wish Coach (Bill) O'Brien and his entire staff, my fellow teammates, and all of Nittany Nation the very best this upcoming season. I will be giving my all to the Longhorns, but will always be pulling for my friends and Nittany Lions family as well.
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