Along with being invited to the All-Poly and Nike Camps, V.J. Fehoko has also been invited to the Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armor Bowl.
“I had a really good relationship with the Under Armor Bowl committee,” said Fehoko. “The experience that I’m going to have while I’m there being coached by NFL players [and] Hall of Fame college coaches really brings the full package. Then of course my family and I are going to spend some time at Disney World while we’re down there in Florida, but the Army All-American Bowl is still a good game, but the Under Armor Bowl won my heart. I’m also going to be going to the Nike Camp as well as the All-Poly Camp in Utah and here in Hawaii.”
A ball-hawking, gritty gridiron warrior, Fehoko is more than just a well-spoken young man. He’s a beast on the field and that’s why he has secured a total of thirteen scholarship offers from all across the country.
“I have offers from Texas Tech, UCLA, Washington, Utah, Boise State, Colorado, Hawaii, Cal, Stanford, Tennessee, Nebraska, Wyoming and recently from UNLV,” Fehoko said. “I just feel like I’m really blessed and I think a lot of this has to do with doing the right thing. I think my parents have a lot to do with this and my brothers [do as well]. If it weren’t for them I don’t think I would be where I’m at now.”
With so many schools to choose from, picking one may seem like a daunting task. Fehoko, however, doesn’t see it that way.
“I don’t look at this process as being really hard,” Fehoko said. “I’m just going to do some personal research on the schools either by the internet or by unofficial and official visits. I do get on the internet and do my homework. I try and research more about the coaches, the school and what players they’re recruiting. After that I’ll just pray about what I should do after I have a better understanding. I know Heavenly Father will put me in the right place and guide me in the right way, so I’m not really stressed out about it. The main thing is I know the Lord will be with me every step through this whole process.
“I’ve taken an unofficial visit to Texas Tech because I wanted to see my brother’s spring game,” Fehoko continued. “I’m not able to really go out of my way because my family isn’t wealthy, so whenever I’m in an area I’ll drop a school to try and get a better understanding. I’m definitely going to be by Utah and BYU because I’ll be up at the All-Poly Camp, so if I’m around then that’s really the only time I’ll be able to visit some of these schools.”
Fehoko has seen firsthand the various recruiting tactics and styles of many college recruiters. Having had older brothers go through the process, he has become wiser to the process.
“You have to really be careful because sometimes [coaches] will say things that aren’t really true,” said Fehoko. “Over time you can get a better idea of what a program is all about. There are programs that just want you because you can make them more successful and not because of who you are as a player or what you’ll bring to the program as a person. Sometimes it’s more about the rating of a person and how many stars you have, or if he made all-state and things like that.”
Fehoko has a timetable in mind for when he’ll narrow down his choices.
“I’ll name my top five by the end of the summer,” Fehoko said. “I’ll then take my five trips and then pull the trigger. I have to go to the schools and see the campuses myself before I pull the trigger.”
Last year Fehoko played defensive end but will be switched to linebacker, a position that is more his natural position on the field.
“My brother Sam has come down here a couple of times, and he’s given me a lot of drills to do,” Fehoko said. “I’ve been studying a lot of film on all the schools in the OIE that we play, so they better be ready. It’s a really good transition for me going from defensive end to linebacker. I learned a lot playing defensive end, and what I learned from playing that position will help me as a linebacker. Knowing how to shed blocks and stuffing the run is really going to be my specialty. Pass coverage will be fine with me. I went down to a camp down here and did really well in pass coverages, so I think the transition will work well for me and I think I’ll have a better season this year than I did last year and possibly lead the state in tackles and sacks again.”
As a 5-foot-11-inch, 225-pound defensive end last season, Fehoko racked up some very impressive stats.
“I had 22 ½ sacks and led the state,” Fehoko said. “My teammates would tease me a little bit and say, ‘Hey can you slow down a little bit on third downs?’ I got the jokes all season last year. I also had 86 tackles with 18 for a loss. I also had five forced fumbles with one recovery and one interception. I was selected as an all-state, all-conference [honoree] and all that. You know, those are good accomplishments and you work hard to achieve those things, but you always have to work harder to keep improving.”
Despite receiving a four-star ranking by Scout, Fehoko said he doesn’t place much value in star rankings.
“You know, I could go anywhere,” Fehoko said. “I could go to UNLV or I could go to USC if they recruited me, but it wouldn’t be because I’m just the newest hot player to come around but because of the type of person that I am. That part of it will be one reason behind my final decision. It’s not just because I’m a good football player but because of who I am as a person. That’s why the ranking system isn’t really accurate, because it doesn’t measure the heart of a player, the work ethic of a player, the character of a player or those intangible things that are going to bring worth to the field and the locker room and program.”
Fehoko, who is LDS, said he likes Coach Mendenhall and the way BYU recruits .
“You do have to meet the athletic abilities they’re looking for, but it doesn’t just end there with him and his program,” said Fehoko. “They look deeper and look at the character of the player and who he is. You could be a really great athlete but be a bad apple on the team, and if that is the case you’re not good enough to be at BYU. So that really opened my eyes. You know, you could be a great athlete but that doesn’t mean you’re good enough to go to BYU. I agree a lot with how BYU recruits.”
One of Fehoko’s primary recruiters from BYU is defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi. Coach Kaufusi is closely related to Fehoko’s father Vili, and both of their families come from Koloa, a small village on the island of Vava’u.
“Coach Kaufusi and Coach Bronco Mendenhall are my primary recruiters,” said Fehoko. “I’ve spoken to both of them, but Coach Kaufusi mostly. He recruits me through letters mostly, and we’ve called him as a family and talked to him. It’s not always just about recruiting but also about family things. Coach Kaufusi is related to my dad and we have a really good relationship with Coach Kaufusi. He and my dad are actually cousins and he looks at me as one of his sons and a family member, so he treats me really well and wants me to be more of a great person than a great football player. He wants me to be more of an example to the kids in the community, so I’ve learned a lot of things from him besides just football stuff. He’s someone I could play for in the future, definitely.”
Fehoko has yet to receive an official scholarship offer from BYU.
“I received a verbal offer from BYU but haven’t received an official offer from BYU yet,” Fehoko said. “BYU and Notre Dame are the two schools that have verbally offered me but I haven’t received a scholarship offer from them yet.”
Fehoko mentioned that he is going to try and find out what he needs to work on now to prepare himself for a time when he can put his skills on display for the BYU coaches. Following the All-Poly Camp Fehoko may attend BYU’s summer camp, if just for a day or two, to see if he can add to his scholarship total.