UNIVERSITY PARK - Junior linebacker Khairi Fortt announced Wednesday that he's transferring to California, making him the second most important of the five transfers so far to leave Penn State.
Running back Silas Redd (USC) was by far the biggest blow to the Nittany Lions, and Fortt's departure will hurt the team's linebacker depth. Fortt played in all 13 games last season and recorded 33 tackles (10 solo), with six going for a loss and 2 1/2 sacks.
"Basically, I wanted to take a leap of faith and trust in God," Fortt told his hometown newspaper, the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate. "This is what's right for me and my family."
California was high on Fortt's list coming out of high school, but he chose Penn State. He played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2010 and recorded 17 tackles, and with the linebacking corps decimated by injuries, he started against Illinois and made 11 tackles.
Fortt visited Cal over the weekend and told his hometown newspaper he "connected with those guys very well."
"The environment there is fantastic, and I got a good vibe from going out there," he said.
He also noted he was promised "a fair opportunity to come out and compete to start."
Penn State players who transfer to other schools can play immediately without having to sit out a year. They also will not count against a school if it already is at its limit of 85 scholarships, as long as the school reduces its total next year equal to the amount of PSU transfers it takes on.
Bolden to LSU
Quarterback Rob Bolden wanted out at Penn State for a long time - and not just after the 2010 season when Joe Paterno refused to grant him a release from his scholarship.
Bolden has transferred to LSU and was with the team for the start of preseason practice Wednesday. Tigers coach Les Miles said Bolden contacted his staff "two or three months ago" about a potential transfer.
Miles told the Louisiana media Wednesday, "We were a little awkward about it," but mentioned Bolden fits a specific need for his team.
LSU quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe is familiar with Bolden, having recruited him in high school while the coach was at Louisville.
"Coming out of high school we felt like he was that guy who was a real quality thrower and obviously athletic," Miles said. "We feel that skill set is the same, or should be. We're hopeful he can accommodate the learning curve. He'll have a lot to learn."
Bolden had been granted a release from his PSU scholarship even before the NCAA sanctions came down, a source told the Mirror.
USC targeted Redd
Redd, who announced his transfer to USC on Tuesday, will arrive on campus Friday and be ready for the start of preseason practice Monday.
Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday that he and his staff had targeted Redd as a potential transfer a few weeks before the NCAA sanctions were handed down.
Kiffin told ESPN's Colin Cowherd that he and his staff expected that "something was probably coming," and they studied the PSU roster for transfer candidates.
"There was only one guy that would really fit, that could come in and really help us," Kiffin said on Cowherd's radio show. "And that was Silas."
Pollard opts out
Incoming freshman defensive lineman Jamil Pollard, from Westville, N.J., has decided to give up his scholarship at PSU and instead will play at Rutgers. Pollard is rated as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com.
Incoming freshman running back Akeel Lynch, who possibly could see playing time as a true freshmen this season with Redd's departure, is now wavering and may give up his PSU scholarship to go to Iowa.
Lynch told Rivals.com that he will decide by Sunday whether he will play for the Lions or Hawkeyes. He is a three-star recruit by Rivals.
News and notes
LSU contacted PSU backup quarterback Paul Jones on Wednesday, according to Lions247.com. ... Receiver Justin Brown has had contact with Oklahoma coaches, according to SoonerScoop.com. "Not that much contact," Brown told the website. "They've backed off." Asked if he's transferring to Oklahoma, Brown said, "Not as of now."