When Khairi Fortt transferred from the Penn State Nittany Lions, he was expected to be an immediate impact player for the Cal Bears. The only real question was how quickly he would be able to learn the new playbook and adjust to Jeff Tedford’s 3-4 scheme. But a knee injury sidelined Fortt for the entire 2012 season, so the linebacker was unable to help Cal avoid a disastrous year that cost Tedford his job. With a clean bill of health in 2013, though, Fortt is ready to make an even bigger impact for Sonny Dykes in 2013.
While losing an entire season to knee surgery isn’t what Fortt wanted, it will likely help him be much more successful next season. For one, the former Penn Stater had a chance to acclimate to the very unique culture of Berkeley, California. Fortt himself admitted there was a bit of “culture shock” as he moved across the country last summer, but he’s gotten used to the “free spirit” mentality of the campus. That comfort, along with a healthy knee, gives Fortt all the positive momentum in the world heading into next season.
Fortt will also find his transition into the Cal defense will be much simpler than it was last summer. The coaching change at Cal has brought with it a new defensive coordinator in Andy Buh who will be move the Bears’ defense back to a 4-3 alignment. While at Penn State, Fortt was a solid contributor for two seasons as a 4-3 outside linebacker. Now, he’s in line for one of Cal’s starting outside linebacker jobs for 2013 and has that experience from Penn State to lean on during fall camp.
While 2012 didn’t turn out the way that Fortt likely was expecting it to, his struggles last season will only make him a stronger player for Cal in 2013. How much of an impact do you think he will have from the outside linebacker position next season?