Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Great Dane ‘monster get’ for Arkansas
One of the Ohio's top 2015 prospects, tight end-defensive end Hjalte Froholdt visited Arkansas in May.
Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema and his staff received an oral commitment Monday from Danish defensive end Hjalte Froholdt, rated as ESPN’s No. 42 prospect in the 2015 class. Froholdt, 6-5, 275 pounds, gained notice in 2012 as a sophomore exchange student, playing tight end and defensive end at Warren (Ohio) Harding High School. He earned scholarship offers from Arkansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville and others.
Froholdt and his father, Hans, visited Arkansas, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan in May. His mother, Lisa, joined them on a trip for the South Carolina game in Fayetteville on Oct. 12.
Froholdt said the feeling he got while visiting Fayetteville during the second trip convinced him to be a Razorback.
“I could feel it in my heart,” Froholdt said. “Every coach told me that I have to follow my heart. Whatever I felt, wherever it was, I just had to be there and on the second visit to Arkansas I just had that feeling.”
The Froholdt visited Alabama, Florida State and Michigan after leaving Arkansas, and received offers at each stop.
The trip took about 10 days.
“I felt like committing right after the visit,” Froholdt said of Arkansas.
Froholdt, whose lead recruiter is cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson, said by the time he and his parents got into the car to drive off, he “had a big smile on my face.”
ESPN senior writer Jeremy Crabtree said getting a commitment from Froholdt is a significant step for Arkansas. “To me it’s a sign that Arkansas is going to be a factor, not just in the SEC, but also the national recruiting scene,” Crabtree said. “He could have gone about anywhere he wanted and to win a battle like this shows you how talented the staff is from a recruiting standpoint. They have a good message and product to sell to kids, and this is a monster get.”
Froholdt said he called Coach Bret Bielema Sunday before going public with his pledge on Monday.
“His first words were ‘That’s awesome,’ ” Froholdt said. “He was just laughing. It was great talking to him.” Froholdt said he made a strong connection with strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.
“He feels so passionate about the whole game and how he works the guys out and he gets results too and that’s also a big factor,” he said.
Hjalte’s mother, Lisa, said she was impressed by the way recruiting coordinator Chris Hauser and assistant Cody Moore organized the visit.
Then, there was Bielema himself.
“He just a big bear you want to hug,” Lisa Froholdt said of Bielema. “He’s such a nice guy.”