Penn State’s special teams took a hit Thursday morning with kicker and punter Anthony Fera transferring to the Texas Longhorns, as expected for about a week or so. Joe Schad with the first word via Twitter this morning…
Penn State K Anthony Fera has committed to transfer to Texas
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) August 2, 2012
With Fera now leaving the punting will likely be handed off to Alex Butterworth. Butterworth punted eight times last season and averaged 37.50 yards per punt, about four and a half yards shorter than Fera. Placekicking duties will probably be all handed to Sam Ficken, who was 1-for-2 on field goal attempts and 1-for-1 on extra point attempts last fall, seeing early action while Fera was serving a team suspension under Joe Paterno.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Justin Brown weighs his options.
Update [6:03 p.m.] – Anthony Fera released the following statement, saying farewell to Penn State.
“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.”