• Fera transfers to Texas

    Anthony Fera, Penn State’s kicker and punter last season, announced Thursday that was transferring to Texas, where he could be closer to his ailing mother.

    Fera and offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki became the seventh and eighth players to leave Penn State since NCAA sanctions were announced last week and will be allowed to play immediately without a penalty by the NCAA.

    Fera’s mother was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She lives in Cypress, Texas, a Houston suburb where he played in high school.

    “The decision to remain at Penn State has been complicated due an illness in my family,” he said in a statement released by Texas. “Shortly before I arrived on campus, the most important person in my life was diagnosed with MS, 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.”

    Fera, who has junior eligibility, averaged 42.0 yards on 64 punts last season was named to the All-Big Ten second team. As a placekicker, he made 14-of-17 field goals, including a long of 46 yards, and 20-of-20 extra points for a team-high 62 points.

    He said he plans to graduate with a Penn State degree in kinesiology.

    “I love Penn State University,” Fera said, “my teammates, my coaches – both present and past – along with all of the great fans that have supported me and my teammates over the years.

    “I made a promise to Coach (Joe) 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.”

    Sam Ficken, a sophomore who made 1-of-2 field goals last year, will take over as the kicker. Alex Butterworth, a junior who has averaged 38 yards on 20 career punts, will take over as the punter.

    Also Thursday, Nowicki, who was redshirted as a freshman last season, announced he was transferring to Illinois.

    Justin Brown, Penn State’s leading returning receiver, reportedly is considering an offer from Oklahoma, but he hadn’t made a decision as of Thursday night.

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