The competition for playing time among the Nittany Lions' linebacker positions will be fierce. Junior Khairi Fortt will be among the primary challengers for a starting assignment in the "Linebacker U." deep pool of talented players. He missed time during spring practice with a sprained knee, but demonstrated to the coaching staff he is ready to take on the challenges of becoming a more significant contributor. The athletic and instinctive Fortt finished spring drills listed as the co-starter with junior Glenn Carson at middle linebacker. He brings excellent size, speed, intensity and toughness to the field and loves to hit. The physical Fortt played in every game last year on defense and special teams and recorded 33 tackles, including 6.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. A former U.S. Army All-American at Stamford High School, Fortt became friends with Nittany Lion classmate and fellow Connecticut prep standout Silas Redd after they attended Penn State's summer football camp. Fortt and Redd are the returning Nittany Lions from Connecticut.
2011 Sophomore Season
Fortt played in every game and recorded 6.0 tackles for loss (minus-22) and 2.5 sacks among his 33 hits. He made two tackles, including one for a loss, in the season-opening win against Indiana State. Against No. 2 Alabama, Fortt recorded four tackles. He made six tackles, including 1.5 stops for a loss, against Eastern Michigan and had five stops and 1.5 sacks in the win over Iowa. He helped seal the Nittany Lions' 13-3 victory with a third-down sack during the Hawkeyes' final series. Fortt collected two tackles each against Purdue and Northwestern. He made four tackles in the Leaders Division win over Illinois and three stops at Wisconsin. Fortt posted two tackles, both for losses, including one sack, against Houston in the TicketCity Bowl. He was on the field for 292 snaps, topped by 35 against Purdue and 32 at Wisconsin.
2010 Freshman Season
Fortt was one of seven true freshmen to play in 2010, seeing action in 10 games on defense and special teams. Fortt made 17 tackles, including one for loss, recording the most hits among true freshmen. He compiled two stops in his first career game, against Youngstown State, in the season-opener. With outside linebackers Bani Gbadyu, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti sidelined with injuries for the Illinois game, Fortt made his first career start and responded with a season-high 11 tackles, including one for a loss. He also posted two unassisted tackles in the win over Indiana at FedEx Field. He saw action on 152 snaps, topped by 63 against Illinois. Fortt was among seven members of the 2010 recruiting class who enrolled in the University in January 2010.
Fortt was a second-team USA Today All-American for Coach Kevin Jones at Stamford HS. A team captain, he was selected to play in the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and earned first-team all-state accolades. He was among only 30 players in the nation named to the U.S. Army Player-of-the-Year Award watch list. Rivals.com rated Fortt the nation's No. 5 prep outside linebacker and Scout.com ranked him No. 11 in the nation. Rivals also rated Fortt the No. 2 prep player in Connecticut for 2009. During his junior season, he recorded 118 tackles, forced five fumbles and grabbed four interceptions. Fortt was slowed by an injury during his senior season. He made 63 hits (41 solo), with 2.5 sacks and an interception, which he returned 46 yards for a touchdown. He was selected second-team all-conference. Fortt also played lacrosse and ran track.
Full name is Khairi Savid Fortt. He is the son of Guy and Dr. Tabitha Fortt. He has an older brother, Ja'Far, one younger brother, Omar, and one sister, Anisa. His mother played basketball at Fairfield University and his father played football at Central Connecticut State University. In his spare time, Fortt enjoys photography and swimming. He is enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development and plans on pursuing a career as a sports physician. Born March 24, 1992 in Washington, D.C.