NEW ORLEANS — It took merely 72 hours before Giovanni LaFrance made up his mind.
He was going to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
After picking up an offer from Arkansas on Wednesday, LaFrance officially visited Arkansas with along with a quartet of New Orleans area prospects, including Razorbacks defensive commits De’Jon Harris and Briston Guidry.
Once he landed in Fayetteville, Ark. and met with the Razorbacks coaches firsthand, LaFrance was sold.
“It was a great experience,” LaFrance told SEC Country. “I got to meet with the team, (wide receivers) coach (Michael) Smith and (linebackers) coach (Vernon) Hargreaves, and coach (Bret) Bielema is a great coach, too. The whole coaching staff is great, plus the defense — it’s a perfect fit me.”
LaFrance, a three-star inside linebacker from St. Augustine High School (New Orleans) and the No. 33 prospect at the position in the nation, committed to Arkansas over Utah, Louisville and Tulane, among others.
While some of the other aforementioned schools could have guaranteed the 6-foot-1, 239-pound backer immediate playing time, LaFrance prefers to earn his time on the field.
“The coach’s main message was if I work hard, I can get early playing time,” he explained. “Coach Bielema talked to me, said they have some linebackers there — a senior and a sophomore coming back — but if I come and work hard and play behind them, I could eventually split reps with them.
“I want to go in and work hard. Nothing has been given to me. The more I work, the better I’ll be. I don’t want to go to a college just so I can start. I want to earn everything I get.”
LaFrance was impressed by Arkansas’ campus, the facilities and the university’s sports management program, which he called “tops in the nation.”
The linebacker credits Smith for truly selling him on the Razorbacks. Like LaFrance, Smith played high school football in New Orleans at Jesuit High School.
Sandwich that with the fact that LaFrance went to Arkansas with two future teammates.
“(Harris) and Briston were happy, and I’m excited about that,” LaFrance said. “They have a lot of great Louisiana players at Arkansas, especially from the Catholic League. Coach Michael Smith played at Jesuit, so he recruits players out of the Catholic League and knows a lot of players come from there, so it’s going to be good.”
All player ranking and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.