COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 19: Anthony Fera #30 of the Penn State Nittany Lions kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 19, 2011 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Penn State defeated Ohio State 20-14. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
On Thursday, former Penn State kicker Anthony Fera kicked off what would become a wild day in the Longhorn world when news broke that he would transfer to Austin to complete his final two seasons of eligibility.
It fell through the cracks at the time when news of all the offers and the three subsequent commitments dominated the rest of Thursday and Friday, but it's worth reading the official statement that Fera released about his decision to provide some more context about why this all went down:
"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."
h/t Kevin McGuire.
The family illness definitely sheds some light on why Tony Fera wanted his son in Austin, and I'm sure that I can speak for Longhorn Nation when I say that I hope the treatment goes as well as possible. And beyond Fera's ability to put the ball through the uprights on Saturdays, which Texas desperately needed, it's a bit humbling to know that Texas is also going to be a big part of the solution in making Fera's life easier. Fortuitous for all sides.