Arkansas linebacker signee Giovanni LaFrance has been preparing for his arrival in Fayetteville this weekend by putting in the work both on and off the field.
LaFrance (6-2, 235) recently got his degree from New Orleans, La., St. Augustine and has been spending time with a trainer while going through the Razorbacks’ eight-week conditioning program.
“The coaches sent me a workout plan that goes for eight weeks so I did that while also working out with my cousin – who acts as my trainer – so I wouldn’t be behind when it comes to conditioning when I get there,” LaFrance said.
“I’ve also been doing some football drills to just try to keep getting better every day. I know there is a chance to play and I want to be ready to give it my best shot.”
LaFrance, who had 99 tackles last season with 73 of those solo stops, 8 tackles for lost yardage and 5 sacks, is one of four freshmen linebackers that will arrive this weekend and infuse the linebacking crew with depth and talent.
Arkansas coaches have implored LaFrance, Marrero, La., John Ehret’s De’Jon Harris (6-1, 238), Pompono Beach, Fla., Coconut Creek’s Alexy Jean-Baptiste (6-1, 210) and Moultrie, Ga., Colquitt County’s Dee Walker (6-2, 210) to come ready to play.
“They are not guaranteeing anybody playing time, but have let us know that it is there for the taking if we come ready to work out, get in the playbook and work hard every day in practice,” LaFrance said.
LaFrance was committed to Tulane earlier in the process, but de-committed and then chose Arkansas over Louisville, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and California.
A three-star prospect ranked as the top middle linebacker in Louisiana by Scout.com, LaFrance took an official visit four days after being offered by the Razorbacks and committed soon afterwards.
“I knew once I got to Arkansas that it was the place that I needed to be,” LaFrance said. “It felt like home and I know those coaches are the best to develop me the next few years.”
LaFrance, who says he has grown an inch and lost five pounds since signing day, has been in contact with many of his fellow Arkansas signees and current Razorbacks.
“I am just ready to get up there, meet all my new teammates that are already there and get to see all those guys in my class,” LaFrance said. “I have been talking to a lot of them.
“I think our class in loaded and I think we are going to be able to come in and help right away.”