Farrington defensive end Fehoko to join brother at San Diego State
On paper, San Diego State and Hawaii were at the top of Sam Fehoko's list.
However, after being bombarded with constant attention from the SDSU staff, the Farrington defensive end gave the Aztecs potentially their best news coming out of the islands. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound All-State performer committed to SDSU on Sunday, with coach Chuck Long and some of his staff present at the Fehoko residence.
The decision brought Fehoko, who spurned offers from Arkansas and Oklahoma, some peace of mind.
For his mother, Linda, it was upsetting. She wanted her second-oldest son to take his visits -- he had gone only to SDSU and UH so far -- and weigh all of the options.
However, the tide turned during Sunday's 4-hour meeting at the Fehoko home with Long and some of his staff.
Long and his assistants left with smiles.
"Once I commit, I commit, you know. I thought out all the schools and talked to all the coaches. I chose the one I think is right for me," Fehoko said.
Playing for Hawaii, where his famous father, Vili, is an unofficial mascot, was a real consideration. Also, UH defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold had built a solid relationship with Sam.
Hawaii coach June Jones met with Fehoko, who visited UH over the weekend, and asked for a decision by the end of this week. Fehoko had 3 minutes of discussion with Jones. He wanted more.
"I was pretty surprised, I thought he'd be more open. He's a really good coach. He said if I leave for another school, he'll still keep the same relationship with me," Fehoko said yesterday.
For Linda Fehoko, Sunday night's surprise decision was trumped by chaos yesterday. Once Sam finished his classes, he had phone calls to make, visits to cancel. She wanted him to play in the SEC badly.
"He told me and Vili and everyone else (on Sunday) he'd wait until signing day," his mother said.
Two more factors, family and playing time, gave SDSU an edge.
Working out with his brother, Aztecs offensive lineman Whitley Fehoko, over the Christmas break, produced big results. Sam had 12 tackles and two sacks in the All-American Bowl.
"Whitley didn't need to recruit me. He always makes me better. It's a plus going there. I can train with him. Whitley owns his name, I own mine, but I'm glad he's there," Fehoko said.
The scholar-athlete had plenty of questions for both UH and SDSU. He found it easier to talk with Long.
"I asked them about playing time. They were straightforward with me. If I perform well in the summer, at defensive end and linebacker, I might play," Fehoko said. "They want me to rush in from different angles."
Fehoko had high praise for Reinebold, but expects little to change.
"I know some schools are going to come even harder. I just pray a lot that everything goes right," he said.
That slight chance of a change in his decision does exist.
"Colt is a big factor in my decision," Fehoko said of UH's record-breaking quarterback, Colt Brennan. As of last night, Brennan was still undecided about turning pro or returning to UH this fall.
"If he stays, anything can happen. I'm a solid commit to SDSU," Fehoko said, "right now."