Pumping Iron, Hitting The Books

When Mom and Dad weren't looking, big brothers Whitley and Sam Fehoko would slip their sixth grade brother V.J. two dumbbells to push out a few reps.

"It's real funny," V.J. Fehoko remembered. "I always used to see my brothers lifting, and I always wanted to jump in."

Lifting at a young age certainly didn't harm Fehoko down the road.

Also like his siblings, Fehoko loves playing football, and he will eventually be the third brother to sign a Division I National Letter Of Intent. Whitley inked with San Diego St., Sam is currently at Texas Tech, and young V.J., a 6-foot, 225-pound outside linebacker, is one of the best players in the recruiting class of 2010.

"I've been around the weight room my whole life," Fehoko said. He has a max bench press of 350 pounds. "I think that's a lot of what's made me successful today. I was willing to work and I think that coaches realize that today."

They actually noticed awhile back.

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis was awed by the Honolulu product two years ago at a combine on the island.

"As a freshman, I was beating seniors out," Fehoko said. "He was real impressed."

Weis had a message for the family.

"I'm coming back for him," Linda Fehoko, V.J.'s mother said. "We thought that was just talk. Talk is cheap."

Weis and the Irish coaching staff proved the family wrong. The day they could start contacting class-of-2010 prospects, the Farrington High standout began hearing from the Notre Dame.

Fehoko said he hears a lot from Weis and assistant coach Rob Ianello. Last week, he spoke with Weis personally about a scholarship offer.

"It has a lot of history in the school," Fehoko said. He now has 13 scholarship offers from places like UCLA, Stanford, Tennessee, Nebraska, Colorado, BYU and Texas Tech. USC and several other top-notch programs are showing interest. "It's a great program known across the country as one of the top NCAA programs, besides the fact a lot of great players have come out of Notre Dame. It goes both ways for being a great program and being a program with great standards."

"Coach Weis talks to me like a great recruiter and that's why I have a great respect for Notre Dame. Not only does he talk to me about being a great football player, but hitting the books hard.

"He said he's excited to have me as one of their top 2010 kids. I was fired up about that."

Fehoko is also fired up every time he hit's the football field.

Farrington is off to a 5-1 start. Fehoko has 93 tackles with 12 sacks four forced fumbles and an interception. Some programs are even recruiting Fehoko as a defensive end.

"To me it doesn't matter," Fehoko stated. "I could play anything. It works out good as long as I get to hit somebody."

The only schools Fehoko has really gotten a chance to see is Texas Tech and Hawaii.

"I'm waiting until I take my trips, or during the summer if I attend the school's camp," Fehoko explained. "Other than that, I'm playing it simple. Wherever I'm at, at the time. Say I'm in California and USC or UCLA or Cal calls, I'll come over and see the school. But not anything out of my way."

Fehoko has already given a lot of thought to how he's going to handle the decision-making process. He plans on taking all five of his official visits before deciding.

"I really like Notre Dame," Fehoko said. "I'm not saying anything right now. The fact they're coming on me hard makes me like them more. The five schools that come the hardest will be the schools I take my trips with. It's no secret. The schools that recruit me the hardest, I'll give them a fair shot."

Another reason why Fehoko is high on Notre Dame is because lifelong family friends Manti Te'o and Dalton Hilliard have both said nice things about the Irish. The five-star Te'o has Notre Dame as one of his finalists, and Hilliard would've likely done the same if the Irish wouldn't have quickly received verbal commitments from two other running backs.

"Me and Manti are good friends," Fehoko said. "I can tell he likes Notre Dame because they're in his top five no secret. I think what makes Notre Dame one of Manti's tops is not only they're a good program but they have great academics."

That's why Notre Dame is also high with Fehoko's family.

"We're so excited about Notre Dame," Linda said. Her husband Vili is actually the Warrior who for 27 years has entertained people in movies, commercials and at places like the NFL Pro Bowl. "It's just a lot of people have talked about the standards. One thing my family values is high values and excellence. We're into academics. That's the first priority. I told my boys football will just come naturally but they need to be academically prepped for college, and my sons know that.

"V.J. isn't allowed to bring home Cs and just one B a semester. People laugh, but it's developed my two older boys into great students not only in the classroom but as students of the game because they have to study playbooks and tapes."

While Fehoko has made sure he always listens to his parents about maintaining his excellent grades, he's glad he didn't follow directions as a boy regarding lifting weights.

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