Julius Forte, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound three-star defensive end from Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Fla., finished his senior season with 95 tackles, 34 for loss, 14 sacks, three fumbles caused and one interception returned for a touchdown. His team was a disappointing 3-7 for the year.<
Forte, Scout.com's No. 55 defensive end, has narrowed his list to South Florida, Purdue, North Carolina State and Louisville. All of his favorites have offered and he still denies a leader.
"I want to be in a good environment," Forte said. "That's gonna be the main thing because I think they pretty much all have the same thing to offer football-wise. I need to feel like I can fit in and like it's home."
He's already taken official visits to Purdue on Sept. 12, North Carolina State on Sept. 27 and Louisville on Oct. 18. He had a Nov. 28 trip scheduled to see the Ole Miss campus but that was cancelled after the Rebels filled their spots and no longer had a scholarship available for Forte.
Forte's final official visit will be to South Florida on Jan. 9. Bulls coaches (defensive ends) Kevin Patrick and (offensive coordinator) Greg Gregory visited Forte at his house Sunday night.
"I love the coaching staff," he said. "They are team that is making progress and I see what the program can do. I know this year didn't go as well as planned, but they had a lot of injuries and I like what they are trying to build there.
"They told me that they love my speed and aggressiveness off the edge," he said. "They think that I could play early for them."
Forte also had a few Purdue coaches at his home last week. "I really like coach Danny Hope," he said. "I like the Big-10 and their style of defense. I like the defense they run and I think I could fit in well there."
Another thing the Boilermakers have going for them is their location. "It's a great school and the town they are in is great," Forte said. "I had a great time there. It's a great place."
North Carolina State is another school whose location Forte really likes. "Raleigh is a really nice town," he said. "There's a lot to do there.
"I also like how NC-State has a history of getting defensive ends to the league," he said.
Louisville also already stopped by Forte's house on Dec. 6. "Louisville is a good school too," he said. "The coaches seem real nice and I had a good visit there. One of my coaches went there and he really thinks highly of them and wants me to consider them."
Forte doesn't expect to make a decision until after his January visit to South Florida.
He says he wants to major in kinesiology and reports a 3.5 core GPA and an 18 ACT.