Fehoko headed to Texas Tech
Red Raiders coach Leach did magic tricks and the haka on a home visit
Mike Leach worked his magic, and Texas Tech has its first recruit ever from the islands.
The Red Raiders football coach visited the home of Sam Fehoko on Tuesday night, and yesterday, Fehoko called Lubbock to give Texas Tech an oral commitment to play football.
"We fed him lupulu (corned beef and taro leaves) and he was doing magic tricks with my brothers. It shows he's a down-to-earth guy," Fehoko said. "He was trying to do the haka in our house too."
The 6-1, 220-pound All-State first-team defensive end turned down several other schools, including San Diego State, Auburn, Arkansas and Hawaii.
"I feel great. I'm glad. I'm happy with the decision. I made it and there's no turning back now," Fehoko said.
He initially committed to San Diego State three weeks ago after Aztec coaches visited the Fehoko home. He de-committed from SDSU earlier this week
This time, his mind was set on Texas Tech. Fehoko visited the school last week and planned to be patient about the decision.
Leach's visit solidified his hopes.
"Coach was straight up with me with the situations I'd be playing, and I agreed with everything he said. He told me I could play basically anything. They're looking five down linemen and three linebackers. It's more of a 4-3, but they'll rotate that nose guard in with other tackles," Fehoko said. "I'll play down and up. To me, that's better, it exposes more of my talents all around the field. He wants me to come from everywhere instead of right off the edge," said Fehoko, who was surprised when Leach compared him to former Texas Tech player and Miami Dolphins All-Pro linebacker Zach Thomas.
Fehoko, who trains religiously, intends to depart the islands in early summer to get acclimated to his new environment and team.
Santiago is aboard:
Kapolei slotback Aaron Santiago gave the Naval Academy his oral commitment to play football yesterday.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound senior visited the academy in Annapolis, Md., over the weekend.
"I never thought about going into the military," he said. "It's something new, I guess. At first I went there just to check it out. I didn't think I would like it that much, but the people, in general, were great to us on campus and the football facilities are awesome. I enjoyed it."
Santiago, a fleet-footed pass catcher, caught the eye of Navy assistant coach Ken Niumatalolo after he visited the school recently and picked up a highlight CD from Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez.
"He said I look like the perfect athlete to play in his offense," Santiago said of his conversations with Niumatalolo, a former Radford and UH quarterback.
Aside from a few run-and-shoot wrinkles added in, Kapolei operates the same spread option offense as Navy. Santiago carries a 4.0 grade-point average and is a qualifier by both NCAA and Naval Academy standards.
Santiago was one of the top receivers in the state despite an ankle injury that sidelined him at midseason. He was a Star-Bulletin All-State honorable-mention selection.
He is healthy now, though, and starts at forward for Kapolei's formidable soccer team. Kapolei will play Kalani on Saturday for the Oahu Interscholastic Association title.
Santiago is also a promising baseball player, though the scholarship offer from Navy has changed his future on the diamond.
"I would've walked on somewhere to play college baseball, if anything," he said.
He will likely begin his career, as many Navy recruits do, in its prep school. By the fall of 2008, Santiago's eligibility clock begins and he will be reunited with former Kapolei quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, who was the Midshipmen's starter last fall.
His older brother, former Kapolei standout Jon Santiago, plays at the Air Force Academy.
"Jon said it's hard, it's hard. You have to manage the military life, plus the academics," he said. "My dad is happy for me. My mom's kind of scared about it."
Naval Academy student-athletes serve a five-year commitment after graduation.