During interviews after Tuesday’s Arkansas spring practice ended, true freshman defensive tackle and Denmark native Hjalte Froholdt mentioned the possibility of him being redshirted.
“I will do whatever the coaches tell me do,” Froholdt said. “I will go through every situation they want me to go through. If it means I redshirt next year to help the team win or second team or if I get any plays, it just doesn’t matter. I just want to contribute to the team.”
While anything’s possible, it’s certainly not probable Froholdt (6-4, 295) will be put on the shelf and be inactive in 2015 according to Razorback defensive line coach Rory Segrest.
“We brought in him because we felt like he is good enough to play right now,” Segrest said. “That’s really with all of our guys that we signed this year. They are all kind of in that same boat.
“That is kind of an afterthought in terms of the redshirt. We are trying to get guys ready to play. If they can’t, then we will redshirt them. If they can, then we want to get the best guys on the field.”
Froholdt - whose first name is pronounced YELL-DA - was one of several four-star recruits the Razorbacks signed in the 2015 class and was even a five-star prospect in one recruiting service.
He enrolled in January and has seen himself actually getting some first-team snaps at both nose guard and defensive tackle in the first three weeks of spring drills.
“It is going well so far,” Froholdt said. “I am just trying to learn the new techniques, trying to understand the defense and the concepts and everything. I think I am making decent progress now.”
Segrest has tried him at both spots.
“We have got him at the three technique now,” Segrest said. “We started him off at the nose. I think he could easily play either one of those two spots for us.”
It has certainly been a step up for Froholdt, who played his sophomore season in Ohio as an exchange student, return to Denmark as a junior and them played at Bradenton. Fla., IMG Academy as a senior.
“It’s the speed, the physicality, just the whole thing around you,” Froholdt said. “You have got to calm down and think of what you are doing and try to follow the script and do whatever you can do to get better.”
He has always been one of - if not the - biggest guys on the field, but that is not the case with Arkansas junior-to-be offensive lineman Denver Kirkland (6-5, 337) and Dan Skipper (6-10, 336) facing off against him.
“They are just some humongous human beings,” Froholdt said. “You have got to play your perfect game to even like have a chance to defeat them. Just try to do whatever you can to get better.”
Froholdt, whose older brother Lars is still in Denmark and continues to contemplate his college football future, does believe that the competition is making him better.
“The first time you line up against the first team, it is a different feel,” Froholdt said. “Those are some really big guys who know what they are doing and they are all just in a big flow and it is hard to compete.
“But it makes me better every day to go against those guys.”
Segrest likes what he is seeing from the youngster.
“He is coming along good,” Segrest said. “From a technique standpoint, he obviously has a ways to go there, but he is a big, powerful guy and once he understands how to use his body, he is going to make a lot more progress.
“It’s just little things like hand placement and being able to attack the proper aiming points, getting off on the snap and all those little things. They will come with reps.”
Froholdt believes that his technique is biggest improvement so far.
“I think it is my technique with my hands so far,” Froholdt said. “Coach Segrest really emphasizes that in getting off the ball. It is just small technique stuff. We really go in depth. Not just using physicality now, much more finesse to the game now.”
Froholdt is being helped by those who have been around awhile.
“Both in the weight room and off the field and on the field, they have kind of stepped up and helped me,” Froholdt said.?
He is also getting used to longer practices, such as last Saturday’s 122-play scrimmage.
“It’s hard going through the new motions and especially the scrimmage last Saturday,” Froholdt said. “It was a long scrimmage and every time you went out there you just had to ‘let’s go’ and then recover and go again. It’s hard, but I think I am managing alright.”
He is enjoying being in Fayetteville.
“Love it,” Froholdt said. “I love it so far. I do not regret anything. It’s perfect. It is just the whole deal. I am just overly satisfied with everything we have been doing right now - the practices, the Quads where we live, the school, just everything. It’s perfect.”
Hjalte Froholdt takes a picture with a young fan on his official trip to Arkansas
Froholdt Being Prepared To Play Right Away
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