Forte: 'I Like the Coaches'

Gulfport (FL) Boca Ciega defensive end Julius Forte holds a dozen offers and NC State was the first school to offer the talented prospect a scholarship. Pack Pride has the latest on Forte's recruitment.

Julius Forte, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound three-star defensive end from Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Fla., has about a dozen offers and continues to deny any favorites.

"I love all 12 of them," Forte says with a laugh. "I don't have any favorites. I'm really looking into anybody that talks to me. Right now the only two schools I've actually seen are USF and Florida International, so I can't really compare anyone and say I have a favorite."

The schools that have offered Forte are South Florida, Florida International, North Carolina State (first to offer), North Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Troy, Cincinnati, Tulane, Kentucky, Purdue and Hofstra.

"North Carolina State offered me during my sophomore year," Forte said. "They've been after me for a long time and I like the coaches. They seem like a good program and a team that is on the rise. I could probably play early there."

Forte, ranked as the No. 54 defensive end in the country by Scout.com, attended a camp at Florida International on June 7 and USF on June 21.

"USF is only about 30 minutes away," he said. "But distance isn't an issue. I'll go anywhere.

"The camp (at USF) was very unique," Forte said. "It was at night and in the stadium. They share a stadium with the Tampa Bay Bucs and it was a great environment. They have the JumboTron going and all the lights were on. It was a lot of fun being on a pro field. It was probably the most different camp I've ever been to."

Forte doesn't have any other camps planned for the summer, but says he'd like to take a few unofficial visits. "I'd like to visit some schools if I can," he said. "It's hard getting to these schools though because most of them are out of state."

Even if Forte doesn't get to visit any other programs this summer he says that's okay because he plans on taking all five official visits. "I really want to take my trips," he said. "That's the best part about recruiting. I think I'll take one or two trips during the season. I think we have a bye week or two. Then I'll visit the others after the season is over... probably in December.

"I'm open right now and I plan on riding this thing out until signing day," he said. "I want to see how many offers I get and just enjoy the whole process."

Forte says the most important elements in his decision will be the coaches and the academics. "I want to play for coaches with a good background," he said. "I want coaches with a history of winning and where I feel a good vibe with them and the players.

"I also want a coach that has passion for the game, but is also a fun loving person," he said.

One school which Forte says he plans to learn a lot more about is Iowa. "I know a guy from this area (running back Jeff Brinson from Northeast High School in St. Petersburgh, Fla.) who just signed with them," he said. "I plan on talking with him and seeing what he thinks of Iowa."

Forte is also friends with another prospect who left the south for the midwest. "I'm really good friends with Orhian Johnson (defensive back from Gulfport). He just signed with Ohio State this year.

"We talk all the time and he told me to take my time and to do a lot of research on all the schools," Forte said. "He'd like me to go to Ohio State like he did, but he says to make sure that it's a good fit for me."

The Buckeyes haven't offered Forte yet, but he says they seem very interested. "I'm getting a lot of mail from them," he said. "I've talked with (cornerbacks) coach Taver Johnson and he's a good guy. I got to know him real well last year when he was recruiting Orhian, so we have a good relationship.

"He says they talk about me a lot and that they plan on offering me," Forte said. "I just don't know when."

Another school that Forte says he's interested in learning more about is Clemson. The Tigers also haven't offered yet. "I'm really curious about Clemson," he said. "They always put out great defensive ends and I like that a lot. I just want to see how they do next season."

Growing up, Forte says he never followed any college programs.

Forte finished his junior season with 50 tackles, 11 sacks, four fumbles caused, three fumbles recovered and one blocked field goal for a touchdown. His team went 8-3 for the year.

He says he can bench 315-pounds, squat 415 and has a 35-inch vertical jump.

"I have good speed and agility," Forte said. "Also I'm really aggressive. I'm also a good finesse player and am very humble. I want to become a better athlete overall. You can never be too good and one thing I'm really working on is getting stronger."

Forte wants to major in physical training and reports a 3.5 core GPA and an 18 ACT.


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