Critical 20: No. 5 Breiden Fehoko

Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent for any reason.

It is high time Texas Tech finally has some luck with a talented defensive tackle. For all sorts of reasons, Tech has swung and missed with these defensive anchors down through the years. An ad hoc list of potential greats at the position who never reached the promised land includes Willie Reyneveld, Stephen Gaines, Stoney Garland, Pearlie Graves, Myles Wade, Delvon Simmons, and Clayton Harmon.

Now along comes Breiden Fehoko, a five-star defensive lineman who has more credentials than Kate Upton has measurements. He utterly dominated all of the competition in the state of Hawaii, and did the same against fellow high school All Americans in the Under Armor All American game.

At 6-foot-3 and 285 pounds, he already has the size to do the job in the Big 12, and his freakish strength puts him well ahead of the curve in regard to being physically capable of handling the competition.

Furthermore, Fehoko has been on campus since January and participated fully in the recently concluded spring camp. And that means, come September, he will have had ample time to not only become physically acclimated to the rigors of Big 12 football, but will also have had sufficient time to master David Gibbs’ defensive scheme.

Then there’s character, family and academics. Fehoko’s older brothers Sam and V.J. played football at Texas Tech, and both acquitted themselves commendably in the classroom and off the field. There is nothing in Breiden’s past suggesting he will be any different. On the contrary, he seems exceptionally mature and focused for one so young. Fehoko knows what he wants to accomplish, has a plan to do it, and possesses all of the attributes necessary to turn his dreams into reality. In short, from every possible aspect, Breiden Fehoko looks like a can’t-miss prospect at defensive tackle who really won’t miss.

Fehoko’s performance in the Petro-scrimmage, and David Gibbs’ comments afterwards also suggest that Fehoko is on schedule. After entering the scrimmage, he immediately blew an assignment, but from that point on played quite well. And Gibbs stated that, while Fehoko was a bit bewildered early in spring camp, that of late, the light was beginning to come on for him. Gibbs also offered that Fehoko is going to be a “special player.”

For once, Tech finally has real depth in the interior of the defensive line. Along with Fehoko, there are Rika Levy, Keland McElrath, Marcus Smith, Donte Phillips, Josh Outlaw, Anthony Smith and Demetrius Alston. Thus, there is no guarantee that Fehoko will start from day one. On the other hand, Kliff Kingsbury and Mike Smith didn’t recruit Fehoko to sit on the bench. They did so fully expecting him to be an instant starter. Thus, and probably sooner rather than later, Fehoko will be in the lineup and will be expected to upgrade Tech’s defensive line play.

Those are big expectations to place on a youngster who has yet to play a down of FBS football, but if anybody can meet them, it is Breiden Fehoko.


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