Player Spotlight: Anthony Fera
Anthony Fera is doing something that few NCAA players have ever done. He is Penn State’s starting punter, kicker and kickoff specialist. Fera did not, however, always hold such a large responsibility on the Nittany Lions’ special teams squad.
He started his career with the Nittany Lions in 2009 as a redshirt freshman and did not see any playing time. In 2010, Fera got the chance to see some time on the field. Fera punted in ten games and was named a second team Rivals.com Freshman All-American.
Fera averaged 41.4 punting yards last season. Only one of his punts was a touchback and nine of his punts went 50 yards or longer. One of Fera’s punts went for 74 yards, the longest punt by a Penn State player since 2004.
Fera had to have an emergency appendectomy in mid-November, causing him to miss the last two games of the season. Fera was able to return to play in the Outback Bowl, where he punted three times and averaged 38.7 yards.
Although Fera was performing well on the field, his off the field behavior was troublesome.
In April 2010, Fera was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor after Penn State police found him drinking from a bottle of rum outside an apartment complex. The charges were eventually dismissed.
On Aug. 4, 2011, Fera, 20, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a second alcohol related incident. Fera was charged with purchase of alcohol by a minor. He was also charged with disorderly conduct after he was found fighting in public.
Fera was unable to participate in pre-season practices due to his behavior, but was able to return for the Nittany Lions’ game against Alabama.
And since his return, Fera has proved to be an asset to the Penn State football team.
Fera took over as field goal kicker early on in the season, replacing Evan Lewis, who missed four out of five attempted field goals. Fera earned a starting spot at punter over Alex Butterworth early on in the season as well.
On top of his two starting spots, Fera has also been handling kickoff duties. He is the first Penn State player to hold all three of these positions since Chris Bahr in 1975. And Fera, it seems, has been playing all three successfully.
Fera was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after Penn State’s game against Indiana. In the game, Fera kicked three field goals and had three of his punts downed inside the Indiana 20 yard line.
In last weekend’s Homecoming game against Purdue, however, Fera faced a challenge.
“That wind, that was real rough,” said Fera.
Despite the blustery conditions, Fera made all three of his attempted field goals, as well as two extra points, helping lead the Nittany Lions to a 23-18 victory over the Boilermakers. On Monday, Fera was again named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his steady performance.
Looking forward to this Saturday’s game against Northwestern, Fera shared that he has a special connection to the Wildcats.
“Actually, the kick returner and the punt returner is one of my best friends from back home,” Fera said. “We played high school football together.”
Fera will look to keep his punting and kicking strong. Currently, Fera and Butterworth, who still punts occasionally, are averaging 42.9 yards per punt and Fera has made nine of his ten attempted field goals.
The Nittany Lions will travel to Northwestern this weekend to take on the Wildcats on Saturday, October 22, with Fera looking to have another big game.
Breanna Jacobs is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.