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Thursday, August 2, 2012
Ryan Nowicki leaving Penn State

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Penn State redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ryan Nowicki is transferring to Illinois.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Nowicki, who is from Glendale, Ariz., redshirted at Penn State last season. He was the 60th-ranked offensive tackle in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting.

Nowicki committed to Penn State in January, 2011. He was also recruited by Boise State, Colorado State, Duke, Illinois, San Diego State, Syracuse, Utah and Washington State out of high school.

The NCAA will allow Penn State transfers to play immediately due to the sanctions against the university. The Big Ten, meanwhile, waived the intra-conference transfer policy for Nittany Lions players, meaning players like Nowicki can play immediately for another member school.

Illinois first-year coach Tim Beckman said last week he sent eight coaches to State College, Pa., to meet with Penn State players at off-campus sites.

"I liked the family atmosphere (Illinois) had as a team," Nowicki told the Chicago Tribune. "The coaches are there for their players no matter what. All that together was a great package for me. It's a team on the rise. They're going to be a great team in the future, and I want to be a part of that."

Also, Penn State junior Anthony Fera, who handled both punting and place-kicking duties in 2011, will transfer to Texas, the Longhorns confirmed Thursday. Fera averaged 42 yards per punt with 18 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line. He also connected on 14 of 17 field goal attempts and was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.

Fera, a native of Cypress, Texas, earned three Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors in 2011 and became the first Nittany Lions specialist since Chris Bahr in 1975 to be the starter for field goals, kickoffs and punts.

Information from ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg was used in this report.