Joey Julius, Penn State 5-foot-10, 258-pound kicker, has become a fan favorite and social media sensation for his hard hits on kickoff coverage this year.
This after being away from the team in the spring and summer for what had been undisclosed reasons. A redshirt sophomore, Julius has never met the media during his PSU career.
But Monday, Julius took to Facebook to reveal he stepped away from the program to deal with an eating disorder. The full, unedited post is as follow:
After a long consideration of not only myself, my family, and my team I have decided to go public about my absence from the team during spring ball of 2016 and thru out this summer. I was admitted into the McCallum place on may 9th for eating disorders. Due to my increase in not only weight but also depression and anxiety my team physicians started to notice not only a change in my overall happiness but also my performance as a normal human being. Throughout this whole process I learned a lot about myself. I learned that for the last 11 years of my life I have suffered through a disorder known as binge eating disorder. Although I showed signs of bilemia through stints of purging from extreme anxiety placed on myself I am certain that binge eating disorder is my true diagnosis thru extensive care this summer for about three months of treatment in St. LOUIS Missouri until July 26th. In order to come to this conclusion I have no one to thank except for Coach James Franklin and my training staff and doctors that stuck with me throughout this whole process. They all noticed that I was not myself and that I needed extensive care such as the program in St. Louis that I attended this summer. I love Penn State and everything about this program and school and continue to do what I can to bring not only respect but honor to the name that so many before me Sacrificed to create. WE ARE PENN STATE and forever will be PENN STATE! If anyone and I mean anyone guy or girl is struggling with the the same or anything similar please message me as I will be in immediate contact to help in any way i can to provide information or insight on my struggles and I would love to help. Praise be to God and thank him for my ability to be honest about this.
PSU coach James Franklin offered the following statement on the situation:
We are very proud of Joe and fully support him as he deals with these personal matters. However, as is our policy, we do not discuss the medical affairs of our student-athletes. We ask for others to be supportive and respectful, as well
Julius spent time kicking field goals and kicking off in 2015. He was 10 of 12 on three-point tries and had 19 touchbacks on 53 kickoffs. But he was replaced on placements by Tyler Davis late in the year.
This fall, Davis has continued on placements, and last week vs. Minnesota set a school record with his 17th-straight make.
But Julius has emerged as a fan favorite. Focusing only on kickoffs, he has 19 touchbacks on 30 attempts. He also wiped out return men in games against Kent State and at Michigan, the latter of which drew a gasp from the 110,000-plus in the Big House.