"I know this year, I have to get it up, because the sophomore season was a learning session for me and my family," he said. Khairi Fortt reports a 2.9 GPA. "I had some downfalls.
"This year, I have a lot of honors classes, and I talked to my guidance counselor and my family, and we talked about what my goals were for junior year because I know junior year is the most important year.
"And I know, that if I don't have my grades, then most of these schools and scholarships will be cut off."
One of the top linebackers in the East and perhaps the country in the class of 2010, Khairi Fortt said he holds verbal scholarship offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Rutgers, Syracuse, Maryland and North Carolina. Those full-rides don't become official for the Stamford (Conn.) High standout until Sept. 1st, the first day college programs can fax written offers to juniors.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Fortt is also hearing from several other schools including defensive coordinator Corwin Brown and Notre Dame.
"They wanted me to come to camp this year but I couldn't make it," Fortt said of Notre Dame. "My father told me I was going to go next year for an official visit and a one-day camp.
"I know they're building the program back up, and they have great academics."
Fortt is trying to help build back up his own program. Stamford played a lot of young players and struggled to a 1-9 record last fall. Fortt missed the first three games with an injury, but used his 4.57 second speed in the 40-yard dash to make 54 tackles, three of those coming for loss, with one quarterback pressure.
"They say they like my hand placement and movement, how I deal with linemen and brush off of them," Fortt said of what college recruiters tell him. "How I get side to side laterally. My speed horizontally."
Fortt has been to all the nearby colleges, camping at Connecticut, Boston College, Rutgers and Syracuse. He plans on going to games at all those places this coming fall.
"I'm not sure if I'll be able to make a Notre Dame game.
"My father said next summer, I'm going to go to Florida, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and the Ohio State camps."
With each piece of mail that comes in, Fortt gets more and more amped about football and his schoolwork.
"It's very exciting," Fortt stated. "I look forward to progressing in this situation. I really want to make the right choice of where I want to go to school, and make sure I'm happy and my family is happy.
"I have two more years to figure this out and do a lot of research on colleges. I'm going to have to take a visit and see how the environment is around me, how the classes are structured, and how the coaches treat the players on the team. And basically, what I'm trying to become in life, if I get hurt or something, a fallback plan B."