Thursday, July 26, 2012
Penn State kicker Fera interested in Texas
By Max Olson and William Wilkerson
Penn State junior kicker Anthony Fera has contacted the Longhorns about joining their program, his father told ESPN.com, and he’s returning home this weekend to consider a visit to Texas.
Tony Fera confirmed that his son is planning to visit his family in Cypress, Texas, on Saturday to discuss his potential transfer options.
“There’s a lot of rumors flying around about if he’s going to Texas or all these schools,” Tony Fera said. “I can say he’s coming home to his parents this weekend and that he’s going to consider a visit while he’s down here.”
Fera, a Houston St. Piux X product, has heard from more than a dozen schools this week. He’s still contemplating staying at Penn State, where he’s on track to graduate in December. If he does leave the Nittany Lions in the wake of the program’s severe NCAA sanctions, it will most likely be for a chance to play closer to home.
“We’re certainly considering that, and UT is one of the schools that we’d consider hearing what they have to say,” Tony Fera said.
As a redshirt sophomore, Fera became the first Nittany Lion since Chirs Bahr in 1975 to be the starter for field goals, kickoffs and punts a season ago.
A candidate for the Ray Guy Award, Fera was selected as the 2011 first-team All-Big Ten punter by ESPN.com and second-team all-conference by the media and coaches. He was also a semifinalist for the 2011 Lou Groza Award.
He connected on 14 of 17 field goals last season (82.4 percent conversion rate) and was 11-of-11 on attempts inside 40 yards. Fera averaged 42 yards on 64 punts with 18 kicks landing inside the 20, and had 12 punts that exceeded 50 yards.
Fera was an Under Armour All-American coming out of high school in 2009, but Texas passed on signing him after landing kicker/punter Justin Tucker for its 2008 recruiting class.
Now that Tucker has graduated and is on the Baltimore Ravens roster, the Longhorns have been in dire need of a new starting placekicker and punter.
Will Russ, a heralded sophomore from Shreveport, La., redshirted in 2010 and played in only one game in 2011. Nick Jordan, a high school All-American from Coppell, Texas, could be the answer but hasn’t gotten a chance to prove it yet. Nick Rose could factor into the conversation but he is a freshman as well.
The only kicker on the roster with experience is senior Alex King, who transferred from Duke. But he would likely just punt if given the opportunity.
Texas does have at least one scholarship available after offensive lineman Paden Kelley decided to quit playing football in June.
Fera has two years of eligibility remaining, and he also has ties to the school. His two sisters both graduated from the University of Texas.
“All I want him to do is make the best decision for himself,” Tony Fera said. “I’ll support him in whatever he does. I just want him to take his time and explore his options before he makes a decision. We’ll see what happens.”