It was a lonely first semester at Boise State for Jabril Frazier.
He had his own locker, but couldn’t use it while the other Broncos were there.
He could work out in the football facility, just not when the other Broncos were there.
Ineligible the fall of 2014 because his grade-point average and SAT scores were not high enough, Frazier was in football purgatory, technically on the Boise State roster but unable to take part in any team activities.
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“That was five months. It felt like it went by so slow, too,” Frazier said.
The wait was worth it for Frazier, and his length and athleticism made Boise State enticed by what the STUD end can do. He had 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss in 11 games last season behind Kamalei Correa. His first snap, on a third down in last season’s opener against Washington, will forever be etched in his mind.
“When I was first got in the game, I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ the fans were going crazy,” Frazier said. “... The good thing, when they sent me in, they told me the play, so I didn’t have to see the signal. After that, I was like ‘OK, I can do this.’ ”
That first fall in Boise, Frazier had to take 12 units to be able to suit up the following spring. He said support came from back home in Los Angeles, and from his coaches and teammates. “I never felt like I wasn’t part of the team,” Frazier said. But being so close, yet so far from the team pushed him to get back into solid standing.
“That was so hard on me. ... I made the mistakes in high school, but since I’ve been here, 3.0 (GPA) board,” Frazier said.
Replacing Correa won’t fall on just one pair of shoulders, however. Frazier and junior Gabe Perez have shared time at the position, both standing at 6-foot-4 and able to be the versatile presence in a position manned by Shea McClellin and DeMarcus Lawrence before Correa.
“I think they’re going to really be good. I think they complement each other,” defensive line coach Steve Caldwell said.
The upside of being able to focus solely on school and getting stronger resulted in a bigger Frazier last spring. He put on about 15 pounds that first semester, he said. Now listed at 232 pounds, he’s put on more than 30 pounds since he arrived on campus less than two years ago.
“He’s growing up as a young man,” Caldwell said. “We ask a lot out of that position. He’s just now really catching on. ... He’s a great pass rusher, so we have to get him in situations that help him one-on-one against an offensive tackle.”
Spring practices this year have been quite different than 2015 for Frazier. After more than a year away from football action, it took him a while to acclimate again.
“I knew my plays, but when I got on the field and it was moving so fast, I was like, blank, it was so hard for me,” he said.
But a year of experience, some solid playing time and an opportunity to play one of the prime spots on the Boise State roster have given Frazier something he didn’t necessarily have last April.
“My confidence is way higher since I played last year,” Frazier said. “I’m out there, I make mistakes, but I know how to fix them.”
With a big void needed to be filled, the Broncos’ coaches aren’t content with even a slight dropoff. Boise State defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said, “We’re on him about the littlest things,” but added Frazier has taken it in stride, eager to continue his ascent this fall.
“His play has jumped a ton,” Avalos said. “He’s a guy that’s made the most of his opportunity so far. We’ve just got to continue to see him do that. We’re very, very excited about what he’s doing.”
Defense takes control of first scrimmage
Boise State’s defense came out on top of Saturday’s spring scrimmage at Albertsons Stadium, creating frequent pressure and forcing more turnovers than touchdowns allowed.
The offense could muster just one touchdown when starting with field position on its own side of the field, as senior linebacker Darren Lee had a safety and a 45-yard fumble return for a score to spark the defense. Senior Jonathan Moxey added an interception.
“It’s always exciting when we don’t have to run after practice, because we run with them as coaches,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “... Just been really happy for the guys, excited, thankful with how much hard work they put out here.”
Sophomore tight end Jake Knight, a former Oregon State signee who spent 2014-15 as a member of Auburn’s track and field team, had the offense’s biggest play, a 53-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Stuart. Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien added a 1-yard touchdown run to cap off a short drive that started on the defense’s side of the field.
Boise State will hold its annual Spring Game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.
Spring scrimmage stats
PASSING: Brett Rypien 14-23 for 127 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT; Tommy Stuart 5-12 for 97 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; Ryan Finley 7-10 for 34 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
RUSHING: Ryan Wolpin 12-42, Cory Young 8-18, Ryan Finley 6-(-12), Brett Rypien 4-(-7) 1 TD, Jeremy McNichols 3-(-5), Devan Demas 2-9, Tommy Stuart 1-5, Chaz Anderson 1-4
RECEIVING: Chaz Anderson 5-52, Cedrick Wilson 4-30, Sean Modster 3-33, Jake Knight 2-57 1 TD, Alec Dhaenens 2-28, Thomas Sperbeck 2-18, Devan Demas 2-10, A.J. Richardson 2-3, Bryan Jefferson 1-11, Jeremy McNichols 1-7, Cory Young 1-6, Ryan Wolpin 1-3.