The hardest hitting kicker: what happened to Joey Julius?


Hit sticks are just one of every football fan’s favorite plays to watch, plain and simple. From Donte Whitner’s hit on Luke Willson to Jadeveon Clowney’s hit on Vincent Smith, hit sticks can light up a crowd on a daily basis. On the other hand, having a 258-pound kicker who also happens to be the “hardest hitting kicker in college football” is something that makes crowds go crazy.

Joey Julius walked on at Penn State in 2014, just a few years after the Jerry Sandusky trials. James Franklin was just in his second year as the head coach of the Nittany Lions, and senior Christian Hackenberg was finishing up his phenomenal career as a big arm quarterback.

The program was on the lookout for a new kicker, and Julius caught the eye of Franklin shortly after joining the Nittany Lions for workouts. In his freshman year, Julius wowed Big Ten fans and officials. Wrapping up his freshman campaign, Julius led the conference with a .833 field goal completion percentage and ranked 21st nationally among other kickers.

What really made a lasting impression on college football fans, though, was Julius’s ability to lay people out on the kickoff.  Because of this, Julius quickly earned a target on his back; this led him to be the victim of several gruesome hits over the span of his college football career.

Julius started to pick up a cult of fans and gained national headlines for the Penn State football program through the 2017 season. However, in July of 2017, reports indicated that Julius had been removed from the Penn State football roster.

Julius had struggled with anxiety, depression, and weight gain, which he commented about on a Facebook post in 2016. He mentioned all three mental health issues, and he also admitted that he had been struggling with binge eating for 11 years. Julius’s story spread to major news networks such as the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and ABC News. In 2017, Julius posted on Facebook again, mentioning that he would be re-entering therapy for his eating disorder at McCallum Place.

Julius returned to school and attended Penn State-Harrisburg in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Football brought structure into the life of Julius, but without it, he struggled to find other avenues in life. Julius ended up failing his classes, and he would become academically suspended in the fall of 2018.

Recently, Julius has bounced back as a salesman at Faulkner Chevrolet of Lancaster. He vows he one day will return to Penn State to finish his degree. If you are not familiar with the 5’10, 258-pound kicker in this article, please check out the links below.