The Texas Tech Red Raiders and young head coach Kliff Kingsbury are making unusual inroads in recruiting, a process highlighted by the Monday commitment of Honolulu (Hawai'i) Farrington defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko, who announced his decision via Twitter:
OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO TEXAS TECH! Ŧ pic.twitter.com/vhkp0StHho— !PrimetimeFehoko! Ŧ (@Bfehoko1) April 14, 2014
Along with Stephenville (Texas) quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the Red Raiders now have two prospects pledged in the top 61 players in the 247Sports Composite rankings, as Fehoko is a consensus four-star recruit rated as the No. 2 player in Hawai'i, the No. 9 defensive tackle, and the No. 61 player nationally. 247Sports has him as the No. 45 prospect in the country.
Connections with the Fehoko family helped linebackers coach Mike Smith secure the talented 6'3, 290-pounder, who is one of the top defensive commits for the Red Raiders in recent years. Older brother Sam Fehoko played at Texas Tech and is now a graduate assistant, while another older brother, VJ Fehoko, is a recent linebacker transfer from Utah and will be eligible to play this season because he has already graduated.
Smith helped build a relationship with the Fehokos when he worked as an assistant coach at Hawai'i and cultivating those ties paid off in a big way on Monday.
Some work done by Stidham may have also helped -- the consensus five-star quarterback told SB Nation Recruiting at the Dallas NFTC recently that Fehoko was one of the prospects he was attempting to help bring into the fold.
MIssion accomplished for Smith, Sitdham, Kingsbury, and the entire Texas Tech coaching staff.
Fehoko chose the Red Raiders over a national offer list that included around 30 schools. Alabama, Arizona State, Cal, Clemson, Hawai'i, Louisville, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Utah, and Vanderbilt were all among the schools to extend offers.
Just the numbers by themselves for Fehoko as a junior are remarkable -- 103 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 24.5 sacks, and 12 forced fumbles.
He projects as a difference-making three-technique defensive tackle, one of the most valuable positions on the field both because recruits with the size and quickness of Fehoko are difficult to find and because of the potential for disrupting plays soon after they begin.
However, Fehoko plays some defensive end for Farrington and could be a valuable contributor as a 3-4 defensive end, as well.
The Hawaiian can flash excellent quickness off the ball for his size and is too strong for most high school offensive tackles, as his upper body strength is another significant attribute. Surprisingly enough, his speed rush on the edge can spring him to the quarterback even though he weighs much more than a typical 4-3 defensive end, even strong side defensive ends.
There are some leverage issues at times, as with most high school defensive linemen, but the combination of quickness and upper body strength is difficult to stop and will likely remain that way as long as Fehoko can continue to develop moves like his effective swim. The fact that his motor runs high is only a further benefit and his hands can be quite violent when he shoots them with purpose.
Fehoko is the sixth pledge in the 2015 class for the Red Raiders, a group that currently ranks No. 6 in the Big 12 and No. 22 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.