LSU’s brutal honesty with defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko paid off.
The Tigers won the sweepstakes for the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Texas Tech transfer — mostly because LSU coaches told him his faults during an hour-plus film-room session with Ed Orgeron, defensive line coach Pete Jenkins and assistant Dennis Johnson.
“I think that’s what I needed to hear. It really humbled me a lot,” said Fehoko, a native Hawaiian.
Fehoko committed to LSU on Monday, choosing the Tigers over Auburn, Georgia and Ole Miss — a significant land for Orgeron and staff of a highly touted, experienced player.
Fehoko will have two years of eligibility remaining after he sits out 2017 in accordance with NCAA transfer rules. He started all 25 games for Texas Tech as a true freshman (2015) and sophomore (2016) before announcing his transfer in January. He's set to arrive in Baton Rouge for the start of the summer semester in early June.
Hank Tierney is dancing out of joy.
Fehoko visited LSU from March 31 to April 2 — a weekend trip that trumped his trips to Auburn and Georgia. Why? The food, the people and, most importantly, the coaches, Fehoko told The Advocate on Monday night.
“It was crazy,” he said. “We broke down film from my game film at Texas Tech. Usually you go into visits and people tell you what you’re good at, what you can do to help the program. I really liked how they broke down to me what I needed to work on.”
Fehoko ate crawfish, seafood gumbo and alligator for the first time on his visit, and he compared the people of south Louisiana to those from his island home.
“Went to Louisiana, and it might have changed the way I look at food,” Fehoko said. “I came back to Lubbock and asked if they knew of any good spots that had gumbo.”
Soon enough, he’ll be just a short drive away from dozens of gumbo spots.
Fehoko is expected to play defensive end in coordinator Dave Aranda’s 3-4 scheme, and he’ll use the 2017 season to get healthy from some minor bumps and bruises and improve his technique in preparation for 2018. He’ll be able to participate in all practices and workout sessions during his redshirt year.
“It’s going to be tough, no doubt about that,” he said of sitting out. “I played for six, seven consecutive years, counting middle school."
Donnie Alexander really did think his opportunity to play at LSU had passed.
Fehoko gives an LSU defensive line, poised to lose three veterans after 2017, some experience and depth. Christian LaCouture, Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore, all projected starters, are fifth-year seniors this season. Fehoko is LSU's 24th signee of the 2017 class. The Tigers signed 23 previously, well below their allotted amount.
They found a plug-and-play guy for 2018.
Fehoko recorded 38 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in his 25 games as a starter at Texas Tech. The Under Armour All-American left high school as a top-50 prospect in the 2015 class and the No. 8 defensive tackle in the country, choosing the Red Raiders over more than 20 other offers.
His two older brothers, BJ and Sam, both played at Tech. It was “tough” leaving the Red Raiders, he said, but it’s something he felt he had to do.
“I was always into playing early and getting on the field and getting my name out there,” he said of his high school commitment to Tech. “But as I got older, I realized, ‘Hey, you know what? I don’t have that much time left.’
“To me, it’s quality over quantity. That’s the most basic way I can put it. I said to myself, ‘If I want to up my game, I got to put more quality into my technique and development.’ ”