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Dallas Cowboys’ Simi Fehoko able to construct on ‘learning 12 months’ in NFL

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FRISCO, Texas — Simi Fehoko considers himself incredibly blessed on several fronts.

The Brighton High product is entering his second season with the Dallas Cowboys, who chosen him within the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft. He appeared in five games as a rookie.

Amongst his blessings is looking across the locker room and seeing a fellow Utah native in tight end Dalton Schultz, who’s currently holding out, as a teammate.

“Yeah, Dalton’s my guy. It’s not only that Utah bond. It’s a Stanford bond,” he said.

“He unfortunately wasn’t there (at Stanford) after I got there, but I played against him in highschool. He beat us within the state championship in 2014, unfortunately. He’s a superb guy to have within the locker room.”

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Stanford wide receiver Simi Fehoko catches a pass for a touchdown during game against UCLA Dec. 19, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. The previous Utah highschool standout is entering his second 12 months with the Dallas Cowboys.

Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press

After a stellar highschool profession at Brighton and being named the Deseret News Mr. Football in 2015, Fehoko was a four-star recruit to Stanford. He knows playing highschool ball in Utah helped prepare him well for the extent of competition he would face each within the Pac-12 with the Cardinal and within the NFL.

“It’s truthfully prepared us for being here. Lots of the time (in Utah), if you happen to’re pretty good at football, you’re an enormous fish in a small pond,” Fehoko said.

“I’d say 100% (the talent level in Utah highschool football is underrated). You take a look at it now, you’ve got the Sewell boys (Nephi, Penei and Noah) coming out (of Utah). Every 12 months, we have now some freak athletes that come out of Utah.”

In fact, Fehoko’s collegiate profession was delayed for 2 years as he went on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to South Korea, an experience that continues to positively impact him.

“I just needed to grow up. I used to be living alone for 2 years in a rustic that didn’t even have football or know what football was,” he said.

“I just needed to mature rather a lot faster than most. It’s the identical thing I feel like for dudes who go straight to school, you’ve still got to mature and grow up. This one was just a little different for me simply because I used to be in a rustic that didn’t speak English.”

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Simi Fehoko, Deseret News’ 2015 Mr. Football, poses for a photograph at Brighton High School in Sandy, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Fehoko was a four-star recruit who played his college ball for Stanford and is entering his second season within the NFL.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

While in Seoul, Fehoko learned Korean and studied the language at Stanford. He also visits Koreatown within the Dallas suburb of Carrollton commonly.

Fehoko can also be grateful for the chance Dallas has given him to play within the NFL and calls his rookie season productive despite appearing in only five games. 

“I’d say definitely it’s a learning 12 months. I felt like I got my feet wet learning the offense, construct that trust and just get a feel for what it’s wish to be within the NFL,” Fehoko said.

“Mostly special teams. I’d played just a little bit at Stanford, but obviously with my larger body and having the ability to run just a little bit faster, it was a shoo-in for (special teams) coach Bones (John Fassel). He just put me in wherever they needed. It’s a superb strategy to get on the sphere.”

Like all rookie, he had dues to pay together with his veteran teammates. His rite of passage made him answerable for ensuring his fellow receivers had hot, fresh food on the plane during each road trip, duties he handled with a smile.

“It wasn’t too crazy. A majority of it was Popeyes (chicken) but they wanted it extra hot each time,” he said. “I needed to time it good. (Amari Cooper) wanted hot fries.”

Together with Schultz, Cooper, who was traded to Cleveland in March, helped ease Fehoko’s transition to the NFL greater than anyone in Dallas.

“Amari’s my guy. I still confer with him every single day,” he said. “He’s an excellent dude that took me under his wing after I got here here.

“It was big for me simply to have anyone I could bounce ideas off. He’s an enormous receiver too, so it helped me being a much bigger receiver, too, simply to ask him how he does this and him being the route runner that he’s, it obviously helped my game.”

Fehoko not only made a powerful impression on Cooper, but on each of his colleagues within the Cowboys receiving corps.

“He is available in every single day. He goes to work. He’s not a complainer,” said Dallas wide receiver Noah Brown. “He puts his head down and he’s just attempting to get well each and every single day, benefiting from his opportunities on the market.

“That’s what I see and I prefer it. I feel like if he just keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be in good condition. He’s been the identical guy every single day. He’s not a loud talker or whatever, but he just is available in and works.”

June 10 marked the ultimate week of organized team activities (OTAs) for the Cowboys, meaning all that is still on the calendar until the beginning of coaching camp in late July in Oxnard, California, is a weeklong minicamp.

Once that minicamp concludes, players get some time without work, which is able to give Fehoko and his wife Bailee (they tied the knot the week the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020) the prospect to finally go on their long-awaited honeymoon in Hawaii.

“We finally get to do it,” Fehoko said of his honeymoon. “It (my time with the Cowboys) has been good. Dallas, for me has just been a blessing. Me and my wife, it’s like our second home now. We’re glad to be here and my time has been amazing up to now. Hope it continues to be amazing.”

Stephen Hunt is a contract author based in Frisco, Texas.

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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Simi Fehoko during a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz.

Rick Scuteri, Associated Press

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