He's very flexible and athletic, but I think his durability may be just as good as his ability athletically. He's someone we've been able to depend on heavily. – Brighton coach Ryan Bullet


Editor's note: The Deseret News MVPs and All-State teams will be announced later today.


COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — When you own the last name "Fehoko," the odds are you're going to play football and play it well.

Names like Sam, Whitley, VJ and Breiden Fehoko may be recognizable to ardent football fans for their collective success playing college football and even into the NFL.

Turns out their younger cousin is pretty good in his own right.

That younger cousin is Brighton's Simi Fehoko, who finished his prep career with the Bengals as a record-breaking receiver and as a true leader and example to his teammates on and off the field.

"Simi is just someone who goes to work every day, doesn't ever complain and he just makes everyone better around him," said Brighton coach Ryan Bullet. "He's been a pleasure for me to coach and we're going to miss him here."

While most Fehokos made their mark on the defensive side of the ball, Simi made his name starring at receiver and at defensive back. Since his sophomore year, the 6-foot-5 athlete has played a big role within the defensive backfield, accumulating 12 interceptions over his career.

But it's at receiver where Simi shined most.

His final numbers include 139 receptions for a state-record 3,568 yards and 41 touchdowns while playing receiver during just his junior and senior seasons.

"He's the best offensive playmaker we've had here since probably Mike Hague, back in 2005," Bullet said. "He's very flexible and athletic, but I think his durability may be just as good as his ability athletically. He's someone we've been able to depend on heavily."

Simi's skill set helped attract many would-be college suitors before he committed to Stanford prior to the 2015 season.

Getting to the point he is now was a process that included a lot of hard work and dedication. Since he was 8, Simi learned the game and was coached by his father, Simon Fehoko, and other relatives taught him, too.

"I loved football immediately," Simi said. "I'd always have my younger brother (Jeremy) by me, all my cousins to look up to and I learned early on that I just love to go out there and compete."

Simi spent most of his little-league career playing quarterback before a late growth spurt vaulted him into becoming a dangerous wide receiver.

"It wasn't until I got to high school when I really started playing receiver," Simi said. "I added six inches to my frame around my ninth-grade year and stayed skinny, so it became pretty obvious what position I was going to end up playing and see the most success at."

As mentioned, Simi's initial success came mostly on the defensive side of the ball.

"Everyone just focuses on what he's done at receiver, but he's been a huge help to us playing at free safety," Bullet said. "He's played just about every rep at safety since his sophomore year and probably saw 100 reps a game, playing both sides, during his junior and senior years. And he never broke down, always stayed healthy, which is a bit remarkable."

While he saw spot duty at receiver as a sophomore, Simi really exploded on the scene his junior season.

After hauling in 65 receptions for 1,656 yards and 24 touchdowns in his junior year, Brighton's new star receiver's recruitment become a bit crazy.

"I remember getting that first offer from Clemson, and it was great. Then those next few come in and it's really a fun time and a great honor," Simi said. "But after time, it just gets to be overwhelming and you really don't know how to give every single school the time you think you need to."

Fortunately for Simi, he had his mother, Tiffany, to help steer him into a unique opportunity at Stanford.

"If I didn't get As and Bs I was getting grounded on the weekends," Simi said. "I like to hang out too much so that definitely helped big time, to the point where I was able to get a scholarship offer from Stanford."

With that opportunity, Simi plans to make the most of it, knowing that football can only last so long.

"Most players that even make it to the NFL only play three or four years, tops, so there has to be more. You have to strive for things other than football," he said. "So, at Stanford, I'll be able to get an amazing education and that's what made my decision. I had a lot of great offers, but nothing like the educational opportunities I'll have at Stanford."

After committing to the Cardinal, Simi embarked on his final season at Brighton, which proved to be a difficult one. A rash of quarterback changes kept his numbers down, although he still managed to haul in 56 receptions for 1,455 yards and 16 touchdowns.

"The guy we thought would start (Kahi Neves) transferred right before the season, so we then had to go with a kid who had never really played the spot — Drew Jensen and then he gets hurt," Bullet said. "Then the next guy (Hunter Albert) gets hurt and we're really down to our fourth guy."

But through it all, Simi continued working, managing to put up solid numbers despite everything going against him and the Bengals.

"That's just who he is. He doesn't get down. He just works and makes the best out of anything," Bullet said.

Simi plans to embark on an LDS Church mission before enrolling at Stanford, and although he'll miss playing for two years, he knows a mission will be another big key in his overall development.

"It's going to be tough, and I really don't like thinking about not playing for two years, but it's something I feel I have to do," he said. "Serving a mission will help me mature for the challenges ahead and will be beneficial for me in the long run. It's all part of the big picture, not just about football."

View Comments

As for ending his career being named Mr. Football, Simi couldn't be more grateful.

"I remember seeing Britain Covey win it last year and I know Britain, so it was awesome and became something that I really wanted and that Britain wanted for me as well," he said. "It's just such a huge honor and it's really for my family, my teammates, my coaches and everyone else that helped me so much through everything. I couldn't have done it alone."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.