Article reprinted courtesy of Fargo Forum and reporter Eric Peterson.
MOORHEAD — During his junior year in high school, Hans Solberg went to bed one night with a voice like Peter Brady and woke up the next morning with one that sounded more like James Earl Jones.
The change was so drastic that Solberg, now a senior on the Concordia Cobbers football team, thought something was wrong.
"People thought I was sick for a whole month and so did I," said Solberg, from Jordan, Minn. "I literally woke up one day and it was deep."
Years later, the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Solberg is still drawing attention for his booming bass.
"He's probably got the deepest voice in all of D-III (football) and everybody would say the same thing," Cobbers head coach Terry Horan said with a laugh.
Solberg has also been a distinctive player for the Cobbers since his sophomore season when he first cracked the starting lineup. He's been the team's starting right tackle the past two seasons. Horan said Solberg's tenacity has risen to new levels during his senior season.
"My mentality is I have to be the biggest, meanest guy out there," Solberg said.
"He's kind of in a lot of their eyes a big teddy bear, but that teddy bear is packing a punch this year," Horan added.
The Cobbers play at St. Thomas at 1:10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in a key Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup. Concordia (2-2, 2-0 MIAC) is trying to win a third consecutive game after starting its season with back-to-back losses. The No. 14-ranked Tommies (2-1, 1-0) are coming off a 21-19 loss at Wisconsin-Eau Claire last weekend.
"For me this is the No. 1 game I want to win. St. Thomas is a great competitor and I know they are not going to be in the MIAC much longer," Solberg said. "They know how to play football. (Head coach) Glenn Caruso does a great job of coaching them up. They play so fast and physical."
Solberg helped the Cobbers rush for 530 yards on 62 attempts in a 51-0 home victory against Hamline last Saturday at Jake Christiansen Stadium. That total is the third most rushing yards in a conference game in MIAC history and the most since 1990. It is the second most in Concordia history, counting nonconference games.
"He's always been a really good leader," Cobbers right guard Tony Yates said of Solberg. "He fights hard and he works hard. He's a big guy with a deep voice who is ready to work."
Solberg is a self-described late bloomer who said he can "barely shave" since he doesn't grow much facial hair. Solberg said he was 6-foot, 200 pounds during his junior season in high school. He was 6-3, 250 by the time he was a senior and started on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Jordan Hubmen.
Solberg said he was 6-4 when he got to the Concordia and grew another inch while in the program to his current 6-5. He's listed at 285 pounds, trimming down from the 310 he carried during his junior season at Concordia.
"Just so I could move quicker and get to the second level faster," Solberg said.
Solberg also shed his long hair after last football season, something he started to grow out when he first got to Concordia. Last Thanksgiving he trimmed off his flowing, brown locks.
Solberg said he decided to grow his hair out because other players on the team had done so and he wanted to try it out while still in college. The daily maintenance, however, got old.
"I couldn't handle it in football anymore. It got pulled every practice and in games people pulled it," Solberg said. "I liked it on how for songs you could just whip your hair around. That's about it. You could headbang pretty well."
Solberg has been a rock star offensive lineman for the Cobbers.
"He's a great-sized kid that at our level you don't always get," Horan said. "He's having a really solid year for us. He's brought his game to the next level. … When he gets on to somebody, he packs a punch."