STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Kicker-punter Anthony Fera has left Penn State, the second starter to depart Happy Valley this week following harsh NCAA sanctions against the program for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
A team spokesman said Thursday that Fera was no longer on the roster. The junior with the powerful right leg was one of the top specialists in the Big Ten after hitting 14 of 17 field-goal tries and averaging 42 yards a punt last season.
Incoming freshman defensive lineman Jamil Pollard, who had yet to play for coach Bill O’Brien, is also no longer with the squad, the team confirmed Thursday. Six players have now left the program this week in the wake of the NCAA penalties including a four-year postseason ban and significant scholarship reductions.
Fera, from Cypress, Texas, is the second starter to go. He was reportedly interested in returning to his home state to play for Texas, and a Longhorns spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
The biggest loss at Penn State is 1,200-yard rusher Silas Redd, who departed this week for Southern California. O’Brien, the former coordinator of the New England Patriots’ high-scoring offense, will have to reshape Penn State’s attack without its best offensive player.
Top backup linebacker Khairi Fortt, is another key departure after transferring to another Pac-12 destination, California.
A seventh player, backup quarterback Rob Bolden, was removed from the roster this week but was given his release before the NCAA sanctions.
Bolden, who has since transferred to LSU, began the previous two seasons as the starter before losing the job by the end of each year. O’Brien demoted Bolden to third-string this spring.
In light of the unprecedented sanctions, the NCAA is allowing Nittany Lion players to seek new schools and play immediately. Most players considering a transfer are trying to make a decision before their new schools start fall practice.
O’Brien had said last week that more than 50 players had re-affirmed their commitments to Penn State. The starting defense is expected to remain intact.
The Nittany Lions could finally reach some roster stability Monday, when they start preseason practice.