Julius Forte had his first introduction to the South Florida coaching staff almost two years ago when he came to the Bulls summer camp with former Boca Ceiga teammate Orhian Johnson. The camp was only for juniors and seniors, but the USF staff had seen something in "Juju" that they wanted to get a closer look at. Even as a sophomore Juju was still one of the strongest and quickest recruits at the camp.
"I just got off the phone with Jim Leavitt and I told him I'm ready to be a Bull."
Since that camp Forte has been in constant contact with the USF staff. Every camp or combine the Bulls have held, Forte has attended. Most thought he would have committed to USF over the summer because of the relationship the staff had already built. But he decided to let things play out, take a few visits and after seeing all his options, he knew for sure that Tampa was the place for him.
"It came down to the level of comfort I have with the program." Adding, "I've known the staff for so long and USF is in my backyard. I've been a fan of USF since Andre Hall played there. My mother actually used to teach him."
Forte says that Andre Hall was more than just a player he watched on the football field.
"Andre's from my area, right here in St. Pete, he's even come over to my house and talked to me a couple times, and ever since then I've been a fan of the Bulls. Even when I play video games I play with the Bulls, like if I start a franchise or create a player, it's always been with USF."
In the end Forte narrowed it down to USF and Louisville, but he also had offers from Indiana, Kentucky, Ole Miss, NC State and Purdue to name a few. Forte made took four official visits, his final one was last week in Tampa.
"I made sure USF was my last visit." Said Forte, "I knew what USF was all about before I took any of my visits, so I wanted to visit the other schools first to see if they had anything more to offer than USF. Then I saved it for my last visit just incase I needed to see it one more time before my decision."
"I'm relieved this whole thing is over. Now I'm ready to start college, get into the college workout schedule and go up against college talent."
As a senior Forte finished with 95 tackles, 34 for loss, 14 sacks, 3 fumbles caused and 1 interception returned for a touchdown. He wants to major in physical training and reports a 3.6 core GPA and an 18 ACT.
While on his visit, Forte had a chance to meet two people that will have a lot to do with his success as a Bull.
"When I get to campus as a freshman I'll have a lot learning to do and George Selvie will help me out a lot. Then having a talent like Ryne Giddins across from me will not only take pressure off, but it will also create a lot of opportunities for myself."
Juju says he hasn't formally called Ryne to let him know of his decision, he thinks Ryne already knows anyway.
"I didn't come out and tell him straight up, but I dropped a bunch of hints to him after he committed on Saturday. He always told me he wanted me on the other side. I also met Demi Thompson and Luke Sager. I met those two earlier in the summer, but on the trip I got to know them better. We have a great Dline class coming in this year."
Forte is now focused on finishing out his senior year, he's waiting on his next report card, which he expects to be a good one – 5 A's and 1 B. Juju is already taking a college internship course and he expects to enroll in June.
"I'm counting down the days to June 28th. I'll be there!"