Stamford, Conn., linebacker Khairi Fortt has not trimmed his list publicly at all yet but when he and his family sit down to do it, one thing is going to be important: His relationship with the linebacker coach and strength and conditioning coach at each school.
"We do look at it that we will have to be building a relationship with the linebacker coach and the strength and conditioning coach and if those guys aren't treating him right, if those guys aren't interested, I have to really pay attention to that to make sure there is an understanding there that they make you or break you," said Fortt's father, Guy.
Fortt, a 6-foot-3, 228-pound four-star recruit, basically has his pick of colleges. Southern Cal, Penn State, Florida, Notre Dame, Boston College, Georgia, Miami and Ohio State have all offered. In total, 29 schools have sent a scholarship offer.
But the family is in no rush to cut down the list, not until they can sit down, do all of their research and then figure out which schools are most suitable.
Some coaches have stopped by more than others but that probably won't influence the decision either because Guy Fortt said it would be unfair to play favorites based on location alone.
"Ultimately, the bottom line is he can only go to one school," Guy Fortt said. "He has to feel comfortable wherever he is. The process has not been overwhelming. Colleges keep coming in to visit him all the time, some more diligently than others. Now it's time to meet the coaches and there's no doubt building a relationship with that strength and conditioning coach is important.
"We're focused in on what we want. I don't think if a person comes in more often than another school that he will favor that school because he's built that relationship. It would be unfair that UConn could come in 10 times and USC can come in once because they're all over."
Rivals.com rates Fortt as the second-best outside linebacker in the 2010 class only behind Jordan Hicks of West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West. He's No. 23 overall after finishing with 118 tackles and two interceptions last season.
So far this spring, Fortt has backed up his ranking. He was the runner-up for linebacker MVP honors to four-star Nick Forbes at the State College Nike Camp and he was one of the top prospects at the recent Connecticut Five-Star Showdown.
Fortt made the Hot 11 at both events. At the event in Connecticut, he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and had a 4.25-second shuttle.
The next step for Fortt is to sit down and narrow his choices and then start to take some visits to see which program and which coaching staff would fit him best.
"We haven't cut the list and we haven't really sat down," Guy Fortt said. "We're pretty much slowly going at it. We have to sit down as a family and really go over it. There are some places he's not going at all, we already know that. I don't want to disclose that yet until I finish talking to him. Once we sit down and evaluate the variety of things, the checklist, we'll move on."
Among those schools expected to make the initial cut include Penn State, Boston College, Virginia, Florida and Southern Cal.