Junior kicker Anthony Fera has announced he will transfer to The University of Texas. Fera will join the Longhorns after spending three years at Penn State, including a redshirt season in 2009. He will be eligible to play immediately in the 2012 season and has two years of eligibility remaining.
A native of Cypress, Texas, and graduate of St. Pius X High School in Houston, Fera was named first-team All-Big Ten at punter by ESPN.com and second-team all-conference by the media and coaches as a sophomore in 2011. He was also selected as a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top placekicker, and was a candidate for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter.
Last season, Fera connected on 14-of-17 field goals (82.4 percent) and was 20-of-20 on extra point attempts, scoring a team-high 62 points. He became the first Nittany Lion since Chris Bahr in 1975 to be the starter for field goals, kickoffs and punts during the Eastern Michigan game and maintained those roles for the rest of the 2011 season.
Fera, who was the first player from Penn State to be selected Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week three times in a season, also averaged 42.0 yards on 64 punts, with 18 kicks landing inside the 20. He also delivered 12 punts of 50 or more yards, led by a career-best 69-yard effort late in a close win over Purdue. In addition, he handled 45 of the team's 55 kickoffs, with 10 touchbacks. He ranked third in the Big Ten in field goal percentage (82.4), fourth in punting average (42.0) and fifth in field goals made (1.17 per game).
As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Fera won the punting duties in preseason and was selected a 2010 second-team Freshman All-American by Rivals.com. He punted in 10 games, averaging 41.4 yards on 46 punts, including 13 inside the 20-yard line, 19 fair catches, and nine of 50 or more yards. He missed two games that season following an appendectomy.
Fera redshirted during the 2009 season. In high school, he was selected a 2008 Under Armour All-American and earned first-team all-state honors as a junior and senior. During his senior season, he was 37-of-39 on PAT attempts and 8-of-9 on field goals, with a long of 58 yards, while 55 of his 60 kickoffs went for touchbacks. Fera also averaged 44.1 yards on 36 punts.
Comments from Anthony Fera on transferring to Texas:
"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."