Round Two for IU at Boca Ciega High School

Indiana narrowly missed out on Boca Ciega H.S. quarterback Orhian Johnson last year, and now IU has turned its attention to another one of the high school's stars - defensive end Julius Forte. Scout.com's 33rd-ranked defensive end talks about his interest in Indiana...

Bloomington –Indiana's efforts with Boca Ciega (Fla.) H.S. quarterback Orhian Johnson last season might not have been all for naught after all.

The Hoosiers went down to the wire before losing out to Ohio State for the standout quarterback. But during his recruiting efforts, IU Assistant Coach Billy Lynch also noticed an up-and-coming defensive end on Boca Ciega's roster – Julius Forte.

The 6-2, 221-pound Forte totaled 50 tackles, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior. He is Scout.com's 33rd-ranked defensive end nationally, and he already has eight scholarship offers in hand. One of those is from Indiana, which identified Forte more than a year ago and offered him early.

While much of Lynch's efforts last year were spent trying lure Johnson to Bloomington, his work with Johnson gave Forte a glimpse into what the IU program is all about.

"I learned a lot about their staff, and now I'm learning a lot about their school when receiving their mail," Forte said. "They have an awesome staff."

Lynch will spearhead IU's efforts with Forte, and Forte said he's already gotten a good impression of the Hoosiers' wide receivers coach.

"I've been able to talk to him a few times, and from what I've heard and see, I like," Forte said. "As for the team, I know they are improving. They're a pretty strong team with a strong coaching staff.

"I like (Indiana) a lot, but at the same time I'm going to keep an open mind."

Indiana appears to have positioned itself well for Forte, but it figures to be a long, protracted recruiting battle as well. He already has offers from the likes of N.C. State, Cincinnati, South Florida and Troy, while Iowa, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Tulane are a sampling of the others who have been keeping a close eye on him.

As was the case with Johnson, Forte doesn't plan on rushing into any decisions.

"I want to ride this out to the end," Forte said.

Forte appears to be someone who is well worth the wait. He's a gifted athlete who ran a 4.66 in the 40 and posted a 35-inch vertical jump at Scout.com's combine in Miami. While he plays defensive end at the prep level and most think that's where he'll play in college, his athleticism makes him a possibility at outside linebacker as well.

"They want me to keep an open mind toward linebacker," Forte said. "It doesn't matter to me. I just want to play football."

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