The 2010 Penn State recruiting class juggernaut continues to roll as today the Nitts got a major commitment from Connecticut linebacker Khairi Fortt. Fortt is scheduled to make the announcement at a press conference at his local high school later this afternoon, but Sports Illustrated has let the cat out of the bag early.
"I picked Penn State because I thought it was a great institution and program where I could mature as a man and role model," Fortt said. "All of the other colleges had wonderful aspects but Penn State had the 'IT' factor and full package, which set them apart from any other school for me."
Fortt is a highly coveted target by most of the major football programs in the country. Fortt held an offer list that included Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan, and North Carolina. Ultimately it came down to a decision between Penn State and Georgia. Fortt made a visit to Georgia a few weeks ago and the Bulldogs coaches made a big impression on him. But apparently, the players put in charge of hosting Fortt completely blew it.
Fortt had a great visit when he went to Georgia during the summer. He made an instant connection with coach Mark Richt and his staff, loved the campus and program and the school vaulted Penn State at the time.
Fortt made his official visit to Georgia on the weekend of Sept. 12 and saw the Bulldogs' 41-37 win over South Carolina. Fortt, who has family in the area, said his mind changed when, on two different occasions, the players who were put in charge of showing him around abandoned him. On one instance, Fortt was left to wander the campus by himself early in the morning.
"Two guys left me," Fortt said. "I was left at a dorm party with people I didn't know. Once I was just walking alone in the streets. Georgia is a school in the south, in a top conference, the SEC, the weather is warm, I have a lot of family there and the academics are good. It was all how I connected with the players."
Fortt came home and had pretty much decided he would commit to the Nittany Lions. He went with his family two weekends ago back to the Penn State campus for one final look, which finalized the process.
Thanks Georgia! S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!
As a junior, Fortt recorded 118 tackles and two interceptions. He also caused four fumbles. ESPN has this to say.
Fortt is a strong, physically stout linebacker prospect and maybe one of the better projected strong side 'backers in this class. Has all the physical attributes you look for in the position. Tall, thickly-built with explosive power and functional strength. High-cut frame but still plays with good bend in his knees, flexibility and leverage. We would like to see him make quicker reads on the football between the tackles, but he still shows the good downhill burst to beat blockers to the point of attack and blow up the inside run. Can mirror with good short-area change-of-direction skill between the tackles. One of the better linebackers we have seen in this class at stalemating the cutoff block when reached at the second level and shedding demonstrating his impressive hand strength. Does tend to open up his whole body and will need to work slipping the blocks of bigger linemen at the next level. Flashes good lateral agility and hips pursuing outside of the tackles with direct angles to the ball. Long strider who covers a lot of ground quickly sideline-to-sideline. Closes on the ball carrier with good burst and velocity in space. Very strong, explosive tackler. However, he does flash some stiffness opening to turn and run on pursuit and in coverage. May struggle if matched up in space. Has some original wasted motion and we have concerns about his ability to consistently make plays inside-out on faster ball carriers at the next level. Not real reactive or fast-twitched. While he certainly shows good range and lateral agility for his size, physical tools and skill-set may be better suited in the short-range as a strong or inside 'backer. We question his competition at times but he physically dominates which is what you want to see happen.
Here's what you've won.
'10 CT LB Khairi Fortt (via RedshirtScouting)