Kicker Gulla in Holding Pattern

The New Jersey prospect visited Penn State over the weekend. He's anxious to hear back from the Nittany Lions.

Tom's River (N.J.) North kicker/punter Chris Gulla has a big leg. But now the senior must wait for a big opportunity, one he hopes was expedited during a visit to University Park over the weekend to watch Penn State battle Ohio.

Standing 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Gulla came on the Nittany Lions radar his sophomore year, a product of his high school coach and former Penn State player Chip LaBarca's relationship with PSU linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden.

But like many prospects, Gulla is in a holding phase until the Penn State staff determines how it will handle scholarships over the next four years as a result of NCAA sanctions.

“I started getting recruited by Penn State my sophomore year when my head coach introduced me to Coach Vanderlinden,” Gulla said. “I'm not really sure what they are going to do yet, but I know they need a kicker, so I just have to wait and see how it plays out.”

A soccer and baseball player until his freshman year in high school, Gulla took over as starting kicker for the football team in ninth grade. He immediately decided to stick with just football. His soccer background influences his preference for kick-offs and placements, but the senior feels he punts well, too.

“I think Penn State is looking at me more as a field-goal and kick-off guy, but I can also punt, too,” Gulla said. “I feel like I could do all three like [former Penn State kicker Anthony] Fera did.”

The staff has communicated with Gulla the idea of enrolling early, and it's something the New Jersey senior believes could work. In the meantime, he knows Penn State can offer what he looks for in a school.

“I really look for a great education and campus atmosphere, because football can end anytime and I want to be somewhere I can get a great education,” Gulla said.

Until he hears from the staff, Gulla will continue to prepare for Tom River's season opener Saturday. But his leg is already in mid-season form.

“I hit a 47-yarder in our last scrimmage, so I feel like I'm kicking pretty well right now,” he said.

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