A few Nittany Lions are exploring their options after the NCAA sanctions against Penn State, and linebacker Khairi Fortt is one of them. Fortt was pursued early by the Bears, and he is going to take a look and see what Cal has to offer this weekend.
BREAKING: Khairi Fortt is flying today to visit University of California. His father Guy said Khairi has offers from about 12 schools...— Dave Ruden (@DaveRuden) July 27, 2012
Despite the interest from numerous other schools, Fortt has only scheduled the Cal visit up to this point.
It should be noted that Fortt was recruited by Cal in his initial recruitment in 2009. Here were his comments on the Bears after Junior Day.
Speaking of Cal, Fortt tripped out to the West Coast for the first time for the Bears Junior Day. "That was a real nice experience," he said. "They are getting new facilities which should be really nice and I liked all the coaches."
Fortt says he’s never been to the Golden State before and admitted it’s not like what he’s used to on the East Coast. "The people seem much more mellow out there," he said. "And there’s a lot of hippies around the town, which was kind of funny.
"But the campus is real beautiful too," he said. "It’s actually a lot like Virginia. They have great academics and they said that the average salary for a player who didn’t go into the NFL was like $202,000 and that’s real good."
Keep in mind this was 2009, when Memorial Stadium was still in the early stages of redevelopment.
Probably the biggest thing that could weigh into Fortt's decision: Can he win a starting spot? Right now the depth chart has Camporeale, Mullins, Forbes and McCain listed as our starters, but I wouldn't say any of them have won their spots, as Dave Wilkerson and Jason Gibson and a host of others will give them run as well. Fortt is in contention for one of the final linebacking spots at Penn State, but I'd imagine he'd also be right in the mix at Cal.
Fortt would instantly become one of our best linebackers. In limited action last year as a backup he was very productive, racking up 33 tackles, 6 TFL, and 2.5 sacks. He could play any of the four spots on the field and greatly help out the Cal defense in linebacking depth, particularly now that Whiteside is out. With the regular subbing patterns of the Bears front seven, it's likely Fortt would be in the rotation instantly regardless.
Fortt's likely decision will be to return to Penn State, but the prior relationship with Cal plus the actual visit this wekeend gives reason for hope. If he were to transfer, he would be automatically eligible per the current Penn State sanctions.