Anthony Fera’s decision to leave Penn State this offseason was more complicated than any other Nittany Lion transfer.
While sanctions and controversy were surrounding the University, the kicker was dealing with something much more personal. Soon before he arrived on the Penn State campus in 2009, his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
A Cypress, Texas, native, Fera had the opportunity to transfer to Texas and be closer to home, and he took it.
“It was really hard,” Fera said. “I was there for three-and-a-half years I really loved it there. But I had to make a family decision.”
He doesn’t hesitate in calling his mom the most important person in his life.
Before coming back to his home state, he lived in a house with seven of his friends. He was the only roommate to transfer and his decision to leave his life at Penn State was extremely difficult. But his roommates understood and where his priorities stood.
Fera knew what he had to do and that family comes first. While he was closer to home, things weren’t always easy for Fera on the field.
When Mack Brown saw him kick for the first time, Fera restrained his groin. The injury would keep him out for the Longhorns’ first four games of the season.
During that time period, freshman Nick Jordan kicked for the Longhorns and went 3-for-7 on field goal attempts.
Once Fera was healthy enough to step on the playing field, he didn’t make the impact he had originally hoped for. During the Longhorns’ loss to West Virginia, Fera’s first game in burnt orange, he went 1-for-2 and missed what would have been a game-tying 41-yard field goal late in the Longhorns’ eventual 48-45 loss.
During Oklahoma’s rout of Texas on Saturday, Fera’s only action was a missed extra point attempt.
Both of his sisters graduated from Texas, and though he is a Longhorn now, he has different plans. He will still graduate from Penn State.
“He promised Coach Paterno when he got to Penn State he would graduate from Penn State,” Brown said. “I do have compassion for the Penn State program and even my friendship with Coach and Sue Paterno, and at the same time this young man reached out to us and had some circumstances that were beyond football, and we felt like that we could also help him and we also need to do what was best for Texas because he needed to get closer to home.”
Everything that happened with former coach Jerry Sandusky and the death of Joe Paterno was very emotional for Fera. He has had the opportunity to be coached by both Paterno and Brown, two of the most influential and successful coaches in college football history.
He feels lucky to have that opportunity. Though he is sad to see the struggles of the Penn State program, he is confident head coach Bill O’Brien and the rest of the staff will get the program back to where it once was.
“Everything that went down, it was sad to see what happened,” Fera said. “You know, I really loved it there. It’s such a great university. Just kind of got a little messed up from one guy. They’re trying to overcome it. O’Brien is doing a great job up there.”
Printed on Friday, October 19, 2012 as: Rocky offseason forces PSU expat to adjust quickly