Another one goes. Man, we sure have a lot of NFL talent for a 1-11 team, don't we?
This time it's Khairi Fortt. The Penn State transfer provided decent cover as our starting outside linebacker in 2013, and has decided to pursue NFL dreams.
Another underclassman will declare for the NFL Draft. Metro has learned Cal linebacker Khairi Fortt will forgo his final year of eligibility at the Pac-12 school.
Fortt, a transfer from Penn State following the Jerry Sandusky scandal, made 22 appearances for the Nittany Lions. He sat out the 2012 season but earned the starting linebacker spot this past season and finished with 64 tackles, third on the Golden Bears. - See more at:
Fortt had 62 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and half a sack in nine games. It was a decent season but hardly a noteworthy one for a linebacker (like past NFL prospects Desmond Bishop, Follett or Kendricks), so I'm a little surprised that Fortt decided to declare early. Perhaps Fortt was just ready to start over and didn't want to be part of rebuilding, or his draft grades came out way better than expected, or he's not meshing with the coaching staff, or some mixture of both.
Scouts sure like him.
One NFL scout, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, thinks the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Fortt has the makings of a solid NFL outside linebacker and could be ideal for a 3-4 defense.
"He covers a lot of ground, from sideline to sideline," the scout said. "He's quick with good instincts. He's a sure tackler."
The scout specified that Fortt "needs to work on his coverage ability" to become an every-down linebacker in the NFL but that "he has all the right tools."
So if you're counting at home...
None of the losses individually are crippling blows, but collectively Cal has now lost three linebackers, all of whom would have been counted on to contribute next season. It puts Andy Buh in a scramble situation where he'll have a bare cupboard much like he did in 2013.
Add in another three linebackers who are currently injured in Hardy Nickerson, Nathan Broussard, and Nick Forbes, and here is Cal's current list of healthy linebackers going into spring football.
- Edward Tandy
- Michael Barton
- Jalen Jefferson
One starter, one backup, one freshman. Doesn't exactly strike fear into hearts.