The best way to gauge a transfer’s talent isn’t his stat sheet. It’s not his height, weight or recruiting stars.
Just pay attention to how much his old coach has to say.
Kliff Kingsbury? He’s had little to say about defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko leaving Texas Tech.
Fehoko announced Monday his transfer destination, leaving behind a program with one of the worst defensive traditions in football to transfer to one of the best. He’ll head to LSU with Ed Orgeron this summer and have two years of eligibility left beginning in 2018.
“The way they were so technical and hands-on with development was my biggest factor,” Fehoko told 247Sports. “With a year under ‘Coach O’ and Coach Pete (Jenkins, the defensive line coach), I know my progression will be soaring by the time I become eligible in 2018.”
Fehoko started all 25 games in his first two seasons for a struggling Red Raiders defense. He was mostly solid, but he was entirely inexperienced. He had 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks in his two seasons anchoring the middle of the Red Raiders’ defense.
When he left, Texas Tech lost the defender on its roster with the biggest upside. The Red Raiders’ loss is LSU’s gain.
In the weeks after his exit, Kingsbury was asked on multiple occasions about his now former player. One of those questions was from me. Kingsbury gave the same answer nearly every time: He wished him well.
It echoed of the same sentiment he had toward Baker Mayfield, who left Texas Tech for Oklahoma and grew into a Heisman Trophy candidate after sitting out a season. It’s the sound of a frustrated coach taking the high road but acknowledging he’s angry about losing a big piece of his program’s future.
Fehoko might not go to New York City, but it’s a safe bet he’ll be a valuable piece of the Tigers’ defensive line immediately in 2018.
At 290 pounds, he makes more sense staying inside at tackle, but in obvious run situations, don’t be surprised to see him slide outside and play defensive end. He’s quick, powerful and versatile. All of those attributes will only grow at the defensive line factory in Baton Rouge, even if Orgeron and Jenkins add 15-30 pounds to his frame.
It’s a perfect fit, especially since Christian LaCouture, Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore – all potential starters on coordinator Dave Aranda’s defensive line – will be gone after the 2017 season.
Fehoko will be ready to replace them, and for the Tigers, Kingsbury’s silence is golden.
(You can follow David Ubben on Twitter @davidubben)
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