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October 5, 2009What could have been the worst-kept secret in Penn State recruiting is now out.
Stamford (Conn.) linebacker Khairi Fortt will be a Nittany Lion.
The No. 30 player in the country, according to Rivals.com, made his intentions public at a press conference at his high school this afternoon. At the press conference, he was also designated a U.S. Army All-American selection.
Fortt went into detail with BlueWhiteIllustrated.com about why he picked Penn State on Sunday evening.
"I just thought that the honesty of the coaches and players reflected on me and my family, so that's why we were really interested in Penn State's program," he said. "Also, all of the coaches as a whole are a great staff. My position coach [Ron Vanderlinden] is a very instructional type of teacher. He doesn't yell a lot, but he loves perfection. I think behind him, and his philosophy, I think he can take me to the big time."
The four-star prospect had been a longtime lean to the Nittany Lions, and finally pulled the trigger last Saturday, when he was on campus for an unofficial visit for the Nittany Lions' loss to Iowa.
"I told them at the Iowa game," he said, laughing. "I committed to Joe Paterno. The host took me upstairs, and I said, "Hey, how you doing coach? I'm Khairi Fortt from Stamford," and he said, "You don't need to tell me that." I guess he thought that I thought he was old and wouldn't remember, but he said that he knew exactly who I was, and he said they were crossing their fingers for me, and they were hoping that I picked up on it. He said that they were glad that I finally committed, and they would take good care of me and hopefully help bring them a national championship and make a lot of great plays for them and be a great linebacker."
Fortt will get the chance to carry on a lineage of talented players at his position, and carry on the mantra of "Linebacker U." He joins Rivals250 prospect Mike Hull to complete one of the nation's top classes at the position.
"I've looked Linebacker U up, and every time I've looked it up, it's all about Penn State," said Fortt. "So going to Penn State and trying to keep that trend of Penn State linebackers up is an honor. To be recruited as a linebacker to Penn State really tells me something about myself. When I get there, which is in about three months, I'm going to do my best, work hard as a linebacker and try to make my mark at that position."
Fortt finished his junior season with 118 tackles, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. He earned all-state, all-city and all-conference honors in 2008 as well.
He becomes the Nittany Lions' 19th verbal commitment, and joins close friend Silas Redd as the two Connecticut prospects who will sign with Penn State. In all, 14 four-star prospects have made their commitment to the Nittany Lions, in Penn State's best recruiting haul in recent memory. The Lions' four three-star commitments are all rated as high (5.7.) three-star prospects by Rivals.com, and Texas wide receiver Levi Norwood has yet to be evaluated.