LOS ANGELES - Penn State kicker Joey Julius, who made national headlines in October when he revealed on a Facebook post that he had a binge-eating disorder, says he knows he will be fighting the ailment for the rest of his life but that he is driven by a lot of support in his battle.
"Yeah, I still struggle with it," Julius, a redshirt sophomore, said Friday at Rose Bowl media day. "I look at it that I'm going to struggle with the rest of my life and that I've got to stay conscious of it. I get a lot of help. I have the best trainers that I meet with all the time. I go to therapy. I'm a big believer in therapy. I love talking to somebody.
"So I have a lot of things I can do. I have so many friends I can talk to from treatment that aren't maybe doing as well but they're hanging in there like I'm hanging in there. I think being in the season makes it so much harder because we've never really gone this late into the season with an extra game this year, and we're out here in California."
The 5-foot-10, 258-pound Julius, who handles kickoffs for the Nittany Lions, talked of his disorder in an Oct. 3 Facebook post in which he revealed he had undergone more than two months of treatment in St. Louis while missing the team's summer workouts.
Julius said he knows there are people he can call at any hour if he needs help. He also said he has helped out people in his community and "young kids . . . you'd be surprised at how many young kids struggle with this."
As for whether he feels pressure, he said: "I've never relapsed but if I were to relapse or something like that, I think being honest with it would be so much better than kind of hiding it. So I'm not worried about what other people would think of me if that was to happen. Yeah, the pressure is there but the pressure is there for my own health, not for letting people down."
Toney adjusts to college
Finishing his first season of Penn State football as a redshirt, former Imhotep Charter star Shaka Toney has learned a lot during his brief time in Happy Valley.
Toney, who plays on the scout team as a 6-3, 195-pound defensive end, said he has appreciated the help he has received from teammates and coaches.
"I've had more than enough help," he said. "Nobody's shut the door in my face. Everybody is always helpful, open ears, willing to help whatever I need help with."
As for adjusting to college life, Toney said it "wasn't rough but it was just learning how to handle your time, how to handle being places, knowing what time to leave, how early to get there. It was pretty smooth."
On the scout team, Toney went up against the starting offensive line that often gave him tips on how to handle his position. He said one piece of advice was to "be physical, play fast, and if you make a mistake, make it at 100 miles per hour."
He said he's also had much support from family and friends back home.
"A lot of love," he said. "Everybody is telling me to just keep grinding, that 'You're part of something special, make sure you contribute, do whatever you can, be coachable, be understanding be helpful to your players, be your brother's keeper.'"
Cooper's long season
Sophomore linebacker Jake Cooper, who starred at Archbishop Wood, has done his best to stay positive after suffering a shoulder injury Oct. 1 against Minnesota that eventually ended his season.
"This has probably been one of the most . . . I don't want to say depressing, but hardest times in my life just through the ups and downs with emotions," Cooper said. "I learned that I can overcome a lot more than I thought I could as far as an internal feeling. I'm a lot stronger for it in the long run."
Sitting out the Rose Bowl means Cooper, who had two starts this season, will miss his last six games. He said he and his family made a "group decision" to fully repair his left shoulder, which had been bothering him since his senior year of high school.
Cooper said he has been cleared to begin off-season workouts after the Rose Bowl. He can't wait.
"To know that I have two years left here to do some damage is also something that I keep in mind and it's only going to make me better in the long run to come back and be 100 percent," he said.