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Arkansas offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt celebrates after an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Arkansas won 38-37. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
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Arkansas offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt (51) blocks Mississippi defensive tackle Austrian Robinson (52) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Arkansas won 38-37. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

ARKANSAS

Last season: 4-8 (1-7 SEC)

2018 opener: Sept. 1 vs. Eastern Illinois in Fayetteville (4 p.m. on SEC Network)

Fun fact: Arkansas has won just 11 SEC games the past five seasons, the worst five-year stretch for the Razorbacks since they joined the league in 1992.

COMING TUESDAY: Auburn

The Arkansas Razorbacks have four returning starters on the offensive line.

Two are from Arkansas, one is from Missouri and the other is from Europe. Hjalte (pronounced Yell-duh) Froholdt is a 6-foot-5, 315-pound left guard from Svendborg, Denmark, and he's happy to tell you all about it.

"I'm 21, so I can say this, but we love our beer in Denmark," Froholdt said last week at the Southeastern Conference's annual Media Days event. "We are huge fans of beer. If you go to Denmark or Germany, go get some beer. Go down to the harbor — we love our ships — so go out on a boat and have a good beer.

"Nothing beats that. That's my main culture."

The fun-loving Froholdt left Denmark for Ohio as an exchange student during his sophomore year in high school. His talents resulted in a journey to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and he signed with the Razorbacks in the 2015 class as a top-100 national prospect, according to 247Sports.com and ESPN.

Froholdt racked up 55 tackles and 12 tackles for loss as a defensive lineman in helping IMG Academy to a 10-1 record in 2014, and he picked Arkansas, the first school to offer him a scholarship, over Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State. He came to this country wanting an "American experience," and he quickly got one when he witnessed the "Calling of the Hogs" by Razorbacks fans in Fayetteville.

"It was interesting for sure those first few games," Froholdt said with a smile. "Now I think it's really cool."

Froholdt made three tackles in 10 games as a freshman defensive tackle, and he moved to offensive guard during spring practice in 2016. The move has paid off, as he is now No. 45 on NFL.com's top 150 college players to watch for 2018.

In the past two seasons, Froholdt has played 1,630 snaps and allowed just three sacks during 850 plays in pass protection. He didn't allow a single sack in 389 pass-blocking snaps last year, which was a bright spot in a 4-8 season that resulted in the dismissal of coach Bret Bielema and the hiring of Chad Morris.

Pro Football Focus has labeled Froholdt as the highest-graded returning guard at any Power Five program.

Froholdt admits he was devastated when Bielema and his assistants were let go, and he appreciates Bielema telling the players he left behind to keep an open mind about the new staff. Bielema improved the Razorbacks from 3-9 to 7-6 to 8-5 his first three seasons, but his final two teams went 7-6 and 4-8.

"The coaches in the previous staff wouldn't want us to sit down and be sad about the situation," Froholdt said. "They wanted us to attack every day and accept this new coaching staff. If everyone focuses on the culture Chad Morris brings in here, I think we'll have success.

"It's just as tough of a position for him as it is for us."

The Razorbacks have 17 of 22 starters back from last season, when they were just 1-7 in league play. They were picked last week to finish last among the seven SEC West programs.

"Going 4-8 is not acceptable," Morris said. "It's not acceptable whoever the coach is, and these young men have had to feel that. They've had to have that bitter taste in their mouth. It's something that they've worked extremely hard about changing, so those who are doing the picking don't understand what's happening inside that locker room and the development of these young men."

Froholdt, who speaks English and a little German in addition to his native Danish, goes back to Denmark twice a year. He is an exercise science major and a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member who is on track to graduate in December.

Should an NFL playing career not work out, Froholdt wants to be a graduate assistant in a strength program, and it doesn't appear that he will be moving back home any time soon, no matter how good the beer.

"I didn't know I would be here in college when I came over here as a sophomore in high school," he said. "Maybe my career can keep me here a long time. That's what I hope."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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