Omar Fortt Enrolls Early in Hopes of Playing Time in 2017
January 18, 2017
With signing day rapidly approaching on February 1st, the UConn football program got an early jump on things this week as safety commit Omar Fortt has enrolled in Storrs for the spring semester. A promising talent, Fortt comes from a strong football family as his brother Khairi, who played at both Penn State and Cal, recently signed a two-year contract with the Washington Redskins. The New Canaan native who attended St. Luke's School and played for Noel Thomas, Sr., was shocked to hear about the coaching change that occurred on December 26th.
"I was asleep when my brother came in and told me that Coach Bob Diaco was fired, so I thought I was dreaming," Fortt said last week recollecting what happened. "I woke up, looked it up and was just so shook, astonished, I was wondering what would happen. I was afraid if I would be able to keep the scholarship that I had earned this past season."
However, Edsall stuck with Fortt's commitment and Fortt did the same with his word, as he was on campus even before the Huskies new defensive coordinator was announced publicly. During the confusion of a coaching change and the uncertainty of the future, Fortt noted that he remained committed because of the academic side of the student-athlete profile.
"Academics definitely played a role," Fortt confirmed over the phone. "I want to go into business and UConn has a tremendous business school, so that had an impact. The new coaching staff that Coach Randy Edsall was putting together, I feel that we can be a winning team. I'm confident in his coaching and can't wait to play under him."
Enrolling early could make that happen sooner rather than later. It was the sentiment that the previous staff had brought to him which led to Fortt coming to Storrs in January, rather than waiting until the summer.
"I didn't want to wait," Fortt said. "Actually, Coach Bob Diaco and his staff wanted me to come up earlier because they felt I had enough credits. They wanted me to get adjusted to the system so I could have an early impact on the team. I feel it could be an early advantage for me because I can come in, get adjusted and try my hardest to compete for time."
Fortt met with Coach Edsall a week ago and came away from that meeting with the same shared belief as the new head coach.
"I had a meeting with him today in his office," Fortt said a week ago. "Coach Edsall is a very calm guy. I'm really confident in the system and his coaching staff. He has great ideas to come in and change the program around. He's an all around great guy and I just want to thank him for giving me an opportunity to be at this university."
That opportunity includes a shot at some early playing time.
"That is so true," Fortt said. "That is one of the major reasons that I am coming in early. I feel I am going to have a major advantage. With my situation, Coach Edsall was telling me how this is his and his staff's first time seeing everyone, so it's going to be an equitable decision for them to make. I feel like my chances and opportunity is high to come in and play a valuable role as a freshman. If I work hard enough and do what I need to do, I feel that I will get time on the field."
Fortt took in freshmen orientation and mentioned that he felt 'at home' on campus. Being close to home was likely a major reason to stick with UConn as well. He and his family are close.
"My family is my rock," Fortt said matter-of-factly. "Without them I would not be anything. They motivate me from waking up in the morning, going to school and everything. Everything I do is for them. I'm the baby in the family so I've learned through my brothers and sisters lessons and mistakes. That's what has made me who I am today. I give everything I have to them and I play for them."
Omar's brother Khairi, as mentioned, recently signed a two-year contract with the Redskins, but the two are not the only athletes in the family. His sister Anisa is on scholarship at Delaware for track where she competes in the long and triple jumps. His other brother Ja'Far aka Knox played college football in West Virginia and has transitioned into a professional MMA fighter. His mom, runs her own health & wellness talk show and Omar's father is a retired fire fighter who was at Ground Zero to assist on September 11, 2001. He also posted the following on social media upon his son officially leaving the home for UConn:
— Guy A. Fortt (@GuyAFortt) January 15, 2017
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