FRISCO, Texas — Fifth-round draft pick Simi Fehoko is one of the older players in this year's draft class, and that might have caused a few teams to shy away from the wide receiver in earlier rounds. But the worldly experience and perspectives that he brings to the Dallas Cowboys would help him in any professional environment, including the NFL.
After high school, Fehoko, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, went on a two-year Mormon mission in Seoul, Korea before starting his college career at Stanford.
"That was huge," Fehoko said of those two years between high school football and college football. "It gave me a chance to really mature. Going and dropping yourself in the middle of a foreign country, not knowing the culture or language or anyone there and having to learn that. You're on your own and you have to learn that by yourself."
College football programs, in an ideal world, are supposed to serve as support systems, and there's a lot about starting a professional career in the NFL (or anywhere else) that they don't prepare you for. Maturity is often treated like an inherent trait, but usually it requires living through the kind of challenges that provide inherently positive results.
"I relied on my mom for 18 years to do cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all that," Fehoko joked. "I graduated college June 7 and hopped on a plane June 15. I was in Korea and I had to do everything myself. Makes you grow up real fast."
Fehoko, who was an All-Pac-12 selection as a junior at Stanford in 2020, celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary just over a month before graduating. He's ready to show up for his professional career as a football player, but he can admit that he feels a bit like a little kid being drafted by his favorite team.
"My first Halloween costume as a kid was a Cowboys helmet and a Cowboys jersey," Fehoko said while laughing, before adding that he'd have to dig up an old photograph to remember whose jersey he was wearing.
It can be especially important for Day 3 draft picks to treat their opportunities like a job because just maintaining a spot on the active roster is their most immediate goal, and Fehoko says that he is willing to come in and make immediate contributions as a special teams player.
But the former Cardinal was the type of player who could run any route including the ones that take the top off of a defense, and he says he can do that at an elite level. What we saw of him in college, though, is just a taste of what's to come, according to Fehoko. He might not be as young as some of the receivers drafted ahead of him, but he claims to still be a "raw" player.
In fact, for as grounded as Fehoko's life experiences seem to have made him, he doesn't lack a trace of confidence for a fifth-round draft pick.
"With my God-given abilities and skills, there's no reason I can't be the best receiver in this draft class, if not the league," he said.