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Penn State adds punter through Transfer Portal

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Penn State made its first significant addition through the NCAA Transfer Portal on Saturday and comes into a potential position of need.

Punter Riley Thompsonformer Florida Atlantic, announced his commitment to Penn State in a social media post Saturday afternoon.

Thompson entered the transfer portal on 13 December after his first season at FAU.

Thompson has one season left of eligibility. His eligibility clock started in Australia, but he was still listed as a freshman on the FAU roster.

During his only season at FAU, Thompson emerged as one of the top rookies. Thompson ranked 15th nationally with a 45.4 yards per punt average, and his 41.4 net yards per punt led all true freshmen. Thompson connected with just three of his 61 touchback attempts, while 14 of his punts were connected. He put up 26 inside the opposition’s 20-yard line and was on 15 for at least 50 yards. He had a length of 71 yards.

Because of his listed eligibility, Thompson was named to The 247Sports True Freshman All-American Team, which also featured Nittany Lions standouts Nick Singleton and Abdul Carter🇧🇷 Thompson was also named a freshman All-American by College Football News and the athleticand he earned All-Conference USA honorable mention.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Thompson, who turns 23 on Jan. 9, hails from Mentone, Australia. According to a December 2021 defector story about Prokick Australia, which helps train punters and kickers to play American football, Thompson is a former Australian Rules footballer who was graduating from Deakin University, working in “his parents’ butcher factory” and playing in a semi- professional league.

Thompson joins a Penn State special teams unit that could see an overhaul this offseason. long snapper Chris Stoll and gambler barney love are both out of eligibility, while the kicker Jake Pinegar has an option to return for a sixth season.

Penn State is currently scheduled to return freshman Alex Bacchettawho was a scholarship holder of the Class of 2022, and a freshman redshirt Gabe Nwosua walk-on, in punter.

Amor performed well in 2022 and averaged 43.92 yards per punt on 50 attempts, putting 20 of them inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. Amor was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by conference coaches and also earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against Northwestern on October 1.

Bacchetta appeared in two games and averaged 41 yards on his three punts with two touchdowns within 20. Nwosu punted twice and averaged 34 yards per punt.

Bacchetta was ranked a three-star recruit in the Class of 2022. He was the #3 punter in the 247Sports Composite, while Kohl’s Kicking ranked him the #1 punter in the nation.

“Being able to catch some punts live, you can catch as many punts as you want, you can do it against the scout team”, special teams coordinator stacy collins said Friday, “but to really get game reps, I thought it was extremely important.”

With just one year of eligibility left, Thompson’s addition to the room with Bacchetta and Nwosu adds depth to the specialist and provides another near-term option for the Nittany Lions.

Thompson is the second specialist to announce his transfer to Penn State this offseason. Former Columbia kicker Alex Felkins announced his intention to join the Nittany Lions earlier this month.

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Daniel Gallen covers Penn State for Lions247 and 247Sports. He can be reached at Follow Daniel on Twitter at @danieljtgallen🇧🇷