Penn State kicker Joey Julius, arguably the greatest tackling kicker of his generation, is no longer with the Nittany Lions.
While Tyler Davis handled field goals last season, Julius spearheaded the kickoff unit, notching touchbacks on 45 of his 93 kickoffs. But the 5-foot-10, 271-pound specialist made his name on the kicks that didn’t make it to the end zone.
Julius went from little-known kickoff specialist to the most popular kicker in college football last fall, thanks in large part to his ability to lay a pair of crushing blows on the return men of both Kent State and Michigan (in which he dodged a first-round NFL draft pick and crushed a third-rounder).
In the midst of his popular campaign, Julius published a lengthy statement to Facebook, revealing his struggles with binge eating disorder, or BED. The ailment is a common eating disorder that causes those affected to repeatedly consume large quantities of food, often past the point of discomfort. In his post, he revealed he missed summer practice sessions with the Nittany Lions earlier that season in order to receive treatment for BED at a facility in St. Louis; he missed spring ball this year in order to return for treatment.
In a post published in May, Julius informed fans and friends that “there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is just a very long tunnel,” though he did not indicate his intentions to leave at the time. Although he did not reveal who initiated the separation, Penn State head coach James Franklin told reporters at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday that the team supports Julius moving forward, per PennLive:
“Obviously I’m not going to get into the specifics of this because it’s a delicate situation, but for us, the most important thing for us is the health and welfare of our players, and making sure they are in a really good place,” Franklin said.
“We love Joe, we support Joe, and he has been a huge part of our program, will continue to be.”
In response to his name not appearing in the team’s official roster, handed out at Media Days, Julius posted an update to Twitter early Tuesday morning, noting that he’s since completed his treatment and his recovery process is on schedule.