Fehoko receives BYU offer

Breiden Fehoko has received quite a few varying opportunities and experiences based upon the scholarship offers he's been given. However, in the end he can only choose one, setting him on a course that will shape and affect his life. Recently, he was given another path opportunity when he received an offer from BYU.

Coming in at 6 feet 3 inches and 275 pounds, Farrington High School defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko made strides physically in the time between last year's All-Poly Camp and this year's.

"You know, the All-Poly Camp is such a good camp because of the level of competition that's there," Fehoko said. "The coaches that help out at the camp are always topnotch. Like, Coach Alema Te'o and Coach Cabral always get the players ready to bring their A-game. Everyone was getting rowdy and everyone wanted to win because the level of competition is so high. It was a lot of fun. The camp continues to grow and get bigger and better each and every year."

One could come to the conclusion that hard work and Fehoko's Tongan genes played a major role his is physical development, but he contends that his mother Linda is the secret behind his stature.

"I've been eating, lifting and running, and that's basically been my whole offseason," said Fehoko with a slight laugh. "I've been putting on good weight and gaining it in little increments here and there. It's all mom's cooking right there. There's nothing like coming home and having mom's home cooking to make all the hard work worthwhile."

There have been quite a few schools to throw their hat in the ring by offering Fehoko a scholarship. Colleges such as Cal, Clemson, Colorado, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SDSU, Texas Tech, Utah, Utah State, Washington State, Wisconsin and South Florida have all reportedly offered Fehoko.

In addition, he has also been offered by BYU.

"You know, talking with Coach Anae and Uncle Marky [Atuaia], Coach Kaufusi and all these guys, [they] are just really good guys. I expected that out of them, and it's not because they know my family, but, you know, their moral values are awesome. It's so nice to go over there and see these guys look at my dad [Vili] as like a brother. That's just how it is down there in Provo. They're just out to love people and I really appreciated these guys taking time out of their day to walk me around the camp when I was on my visit. It was an awesome day, I'll tell you that."

While on his unofficial visit to BYU, Fehoko spoke with Coach Anae and Coach Atuaia for some time.

"They not only talked to me about where I can fit in within the program, but how I've become the best possible person that fits their program," said Fehoko. "They told me how they're really proud of the way I hold myself to the highest standards and the way I act in society. They said, ‘We need guys like you that not only are active in the Church but are good role model to [your] peers,' and all that good stuff. It really touched me because they could have easily talked to me about how good of a football player I am, but they talked about my character and how important that is to them. I really respect them for that, you know? I really do."

Knowing that BYU won't extend an offer unless the athlete has high character, Fehoko feels honored.

"Yes, it feels so good for somebody to acknowledge that about you," he said. "You know, not only recognize your football accomplishments but also who you are off the field – [that] feels good when someone acknowledges that about you. It's just a really good feeling."

Fehoko comes from a very strong LDS family where the principles of their faith are taught in the home, and BYU had been a school always in consideration. However, when Fehoko's older brother V.J. was being recruited out of high school, BYU didn't extend an offer to him. It left a sour taste in the mouth of younger brother, who, at that time, wouldn't have considered an offer from BYU if they came calling. However, Fehoko's disposition has now softened. So, the question is why?

"Well, you know, it's the maturity level," said Fehoko. "As a younger kid last year going into the All-Poly Camp I only had one offer and that was from Utah. Then I picked up two and the other came from Hawaii. My mind was based on those two schools.

"Then, coming into this season a lot of schools have offered and I learned to open up my mind and not keep it in a bubble. I've learned to open my mind and realize that I have opportunities that could benefit me, so I realized it would be better for me to take a different approach to the recruiting process. I'm not going to be single-minded, but want to take a look at all the options that have been given to me so I don't limit myself.

"That's why I look at BYU differently this year. Maybe they didn't offer me last year, but they did offer me this year. It was something that eventually was going to happen, and they threw everything out there for me. They rolled the red carpet out for me and put the choice there and left it up for me to make it. I think that's why I changed is because of my maturity level, and I'm just happy it's happened and it's really opened my eyes a lot."

Many college colors have run through the home of the Fehoko family. Big brothers Whitley and Sam played for San Diego State and Texas Tech, respectively. V.J. is currently playing middle linebacker at the University of Utah. The youngest of the bunch, Breiden Fehoko knows the decision he'll make will affect him and no one else for the rest of his life.

"When a school offers you, they see something in you that's special," said Fehoko. "It's not that they're just going to throw an offer out at you because of some four- or five-star athlete. It's because they have a need for you. I've talked with V.J. about it, my dad, my other brothers Sam and Whitley about things, and what it comes down to is where you belong. This past year I've really learned to keep my eyes open and really soak up all of what I've gained to choose what will be the best school for me during the recruiting process. That's why I'm a lot different this year."

So what kind of overall value is Fehoko looking to get out of his scholarship when choosing a college? He has a few things in mind.

"Well, first and foremost it's that degree," Fehoko said. "I'm looking for a school where I can go and just get things done. Nowadays it's so important to get that degree, and for me it's really important to go to a school that will push me in the classroom.

"Second, for me, it's playing time. You know, I want to go to a school where I can play early and have that chance to go to the [NFL]. I want to go to a school that pushes me not only on the field but off the field.

"To me going to a school where there is a good environment is important, because a lot of schools nowadays are so surrounded with a party environment where there's a lot of partying going on and drinking. My mom and dad raised me with morals and values, so you can go to any school and continue those values. But, I'm looking for a school that has a good environment, has good academics in the classroom, and has a good graduation percentage and a good football history.

"For me, it's really about that. I want to go to a school where people have the same standards as me and are going after the same things I'm going after. That will make the whole college atmosphere a lot easier and a lot funner too. When you have guys that believe in the same things as you do, not religious-wise, but guys that have been raised with similar values and coaches who are family men, that helps out the recruiting process as well."

Fehoko has been given the opportunity to have those qualities in a college experience if he so chooses. One such opportunity came by way of family friend and BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who extended Fehoko his BYU scholarship offer.

"It was after Friday's camp and I was talking with Coach Anae and Uncle Marky [Atuaia], and they were talking with my dad and the rest of the family," said Fehoko. "I came over and Coach Anae said, ‘You don't have to worry any longer because you have an offer from us, so you just keep working hard and being who you are.' Those were the words that came out of his mouth, and then he said, ‘The offer is there and we're not going to force anything out of you. It's your decision.' It really opened my eyes to see how happy he was to say that to me. You know, it's really been such a blessing having all these schools come through, and not just BYU but all these schools. When Coach Anae said that, there was such a good feeling that came over me. I was just left speechless there and all I could do is just tear up. When he said that, my mom and dad were smiling so big, and, you know, everybody was so happy for me. It was such a good experience that day."

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