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NFL Draft

Simi Fehoko: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • March 27, 2021
  • Share

Every NFL quarterback loves having a big, physical pass-catcher who can move the chains, dominate in the red zone, and make life miserable for smaller defensive backs.

If your favorite team is looking for that player in the 2021 NFL Draft, Stanford’s Simi Fehoko is your man.

The dominant Cardinal receiver recently spoke with The Draft Network about his experience in Korea, what it’s like to grow up in a family full of athletes, the challenges of balancing rigorous academics with high-level athletics, what his predraft training regimen looks like, and what kind of skill set he brings to the next level.

JM: You went on a Mormon mission to Korea. You were just out of high school when you went on this life-changing adventure; that sounds like such a cool experience.

SF: It was crazy. I graduated high school on June 7 and I left on June 15. It was a two-year mission. You don’t get to see your family. You don’t get to talk to your family. I was allowed to send my family an email once a week. That was it. It was interesting. My girlfriend wasn’t thrilled (laughs). 

It was cool. You’re assigned a place. I didn’t get to pick where I was going. I got assigned to South Korea. At first, I was like huh, Where? (laughs). Are we sure that’s not too close to North Korea? (laughs). It ended up being such a good thing for me. I wound up loving the place. I fell in love with the culture. I learned the language. I look at South Korea as my home away from home now. It’s a great place. I definitely want to go back to visit. I definitely miss the food, that’s for sure (laughs).

JM: Did I hear you say two years?! I thought you were there for like a month (laughs).

SF: Yeah man, two years. I’m 23 years old now. I still had eligibility left in college when I came home. That played a role in why I decided to enter the draft this year.

JM: You grew up in a family full of athletes. I don’t have enough time to name all of your cousins and uncles that played college football, college basketball, and in the NFL as well. What was it like to grow up in a competitive, sporting family?

SF: It’s been crazy. I remember growing up, all I heard was this cousin is going to LSU, this cousin is going to Texas Tech, that cousin is a five-star recruit, and so on. You grow up in that bubble. It becomes normal to you. You feel like you have to do the same thing. You have to make your last name proud. Our uncles paved the way for us. I’m just following in the family’s footsteps while trying to make my own way.

JM: You’ve been preparing for the draft at the Sanford Power facility in Irvine, California, with well-known trainer Eric Renaghan. You’re running through wide receiver drills with former NFL player Ricky Proehl. You’re working alongside quarterbacks like Kyle Trask and K.J. Costello. What a crazy group you guys have out there. What’s the competitive spirit been like at the facility?

SF: Man, we have a bunch of great athletes out here in general. Everyone out here is having fun. This is probably the most fun we’re going to have. It’s been so cool. We’re all competing and learning from one another. Everybody has a different tip or trick to offer. It’s been fun to talk football with Kyle and K.J. These guys were two of the best quarterbacks in all of college football.

It’s crazy. We’re waking up every day and competing. Everyone is pushing each other. It’s cool. Paulson Adebo from Stanford was just out here getting in some work with us just for the weekend. That’s the type of vibe that we have out here. It’s a really cool environment.

JM: I love that. Stanford has you listed as 6-foot-4, 227 pounds. You’re a big receiver. How do you use that to your advantage?

SF: That’s what my game is all about. It makes me different from these other receivers. I’m a big-bodied guy. I have the speed to match on top of that. I can get loose too (laughs). I watch a lot of film on Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, and Randy Moss. I pay attention to the freak athletes that are big-bodied guys that can also run fast but understand how to use their big bodies. I definitely use my size to my advantage. That’s my game. That’s how I like to play the game.

JM: Do you have a favorite route to run?

SF: That’s a good question. If you watch my film at Stanford, I was more of a deep threat guy. I ran a lot of verticals and a lot of posts. My favorite route to run is definitely a post route.

JM: That’s something that I want to clear up. You’re a big receiver, but you can really run too. Sometimes, people see a receiver with your measurements and they assume that you’re big and slow. That’s not the case with you.

SF: Right (laughs). I can get loose a little bit.

JM: I heard that you’ve put up some crazy times in the 40-yard dash given your size.

SF: That’s what I’m planning on doing. We had a few tests at Stanford. I’ve laser tested at 4.39 [seconds] in the past. We’re shooting for that, if not a little lower. We’ll see what happens.

JM: If you run in the 4.3’s at your size, that would blow up the internet.

SF: Exactly. I wouldn’t mind a little DK Metcalf attention being thrown my way (laughs).

JM: You played behind J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at Stanford. He’s another big-bodied receiver that had an incredible collegiate career. What did you learn from playing behind him?

SF: I came in and played behind him during my freshman year. I was 180 pounds coming out of high school. I went on my mission to Korea and came back at 230 pounds. That rice and kimchi helped me build some weight (laughs). I came back and learned a lot from JJ. He had a great season that year. Being that we’re both bigger guys, he taught me how to use my size to my advantage. He’s the best player to ever do it at Stanford. There’s no denying that. He’s one of the best jump-ball guys I’ve ever seen. He was great to learn from and to compete with. He took me under his wing. I couldn’t have learned from a better person. 

I didn’t know how to play big at the time. I was still learning how to do that. He taught me how to play to my size. We’re a little different, though. He’s a great red-zone target. We have different skill-sets but I learned a lot from him.

JM: It shows up on tape. You made the All-Academic honor roll at Stanford. What was it like trying to balance football with schoolwork at a prestigious institution like Stanford?

SF: Stanford is crazy. You get the best of the best at everything. You’re going to class with people that are going to be the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg (laughs). And it’s crazy because you could be sitting right next to him. He could be your roommate. You have the academic excellence that Stanford is known for. You’re surrounded by it, and then you go to football practice and you're playing alongside five-star recruits that are striving to be excellent athletes. The blend that you get at Stanford is crazy. I don’t think you can get that anywhere else. Maybe Notre Dame is similar, but Stanford is one of few institutions where you’ll find both that academic and athletic excellence.

JM: That’s so true. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Simi. In closing, what kind of impact is Simi Fehoko going to make at the next level?

SF: I’m looking to be one of the biggest deep threats in all of football. I’m aiming to be one of those big-bodied receivers that does a lot of damage. I’m excited to become one of the greats.

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