From ineligibility to an uncomfortably long day under the knife, Jabril Frazier has faced some unique hurdles at Boise State.
So, when it came time for his teammates to vote for their captains last week, Frazier made a lot of sense. The STUD end joined fellow seniors Brett Rypien and Tyler Horton as season-long captains. Coach Bryan Harsin said “I wasn’t surprised, but very proud.”
“It’s a story of hard work,” Harsin said.
Before he even arrived on campus, Frazier faced his first challenge.
His SAT scores were not high enough to make him eligible immediately, so he was forced to redshirt the 2014 season.
“It made me more grateful,” Frazier said. “I was this big recruit, but to not play because of academics, that was tough to deal with. When football was taken from me … I knew I had to take everything else just as seriously.”
To become eligible again, Frazier had to maintain at least a 2.8 grade point average, which he did. He’s six credits away from graduating with a communications degree.
The Los Angeles native had 2.5 sacks in his debut season, and started 2016 on a tear, with four sacks in the first five games, but none after a handful of injuries took their toll.
He had three surgeries in one day following that season on an ankle, knee and shoulder. Recovery took six months.
“It wasn’t all going to happen at once, and he was like ‘do it all at once,’ ” Harsin said.
Said Frazier: “When I was in the wheelchair, I was like, ‘Maybe that wasn’t a good idea.’ ”
But his junior year really showed the 6-foot-4, 238-pound Frazier’s potential, as he racked up six sacks and forced two fumbles while staying healthy. It carried over into this spring, prompting Rypien to say: “Jabril’s on a whole other level. He’s taken his game to new heights.”
“I’m really excited for him, he’s worked really hard to get healthy and put himself in the position he’s in now,” Rypien said.
Harsin drew parallels between how Leighton Vander Esch and Frazier latched onto their leadership roles, and said “I think Jabril’s in a good place. I think he understands what it takes to be successful.”
“This is probably the most prepared I’ve ever been,” Frazier said.
In his own group, Frazier is pushed by junior Sam Whitney (starts in five of the first seven games in 2017), sophomore Curtis Weaver (11 sacks last season) and even true freshman Demitri Washington. It is a key position on the defense, and has the right kind of person leading it.
“Jabril’s my big brother. Whatever he tells me to do, I’ll do it most of the time,” Weaver said. “Him teaching me how to be mature, first of all, he helped me off the field and on the field.”
While Rypien has thought of his legacy in comparison to other Boise State quarterbacks, Frazier said he wants to be remembered for the same reasons he was chosen as a captain.
“Definitely a person that worked hard, that overcame challenges, a person that never gave up,” Frazier said.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JABRIL FRAZIER
Who are your favorite football players?
“My favorite growing up was Ray Lewis, but as far as someone now, I’d say Von Miller. Ray, he’s such a motivational guy, he played so hard every play. I want to be like that. And I love Von’s swagger, and he has fun, gets a lot of sacks, which is what I want to do.”
If football didn’t work out, what might you do?
“My brother is a fireman, so I think I’d like to do that, too.”
If you were on “Jeopardy!” what category would you dominate?
“Musical artists. If it was an R&B question, or if somehow it was, like, old-school hip-hop, I could do pretty well.”
You have a dinner reservation for four, who would you have sit with you, anyone alive or dead?
“Ray Lewis would definitely be one of them, and I’d say my grandmother who died when I was 10 because I miss her dearly. And probably Kobe Bryant, just to pick his brain.”
Outside of football, what are your current interests?
“Right now, I’m actually really into watching videos of motivational speakers on YouTube, stuff like that. Trying to stay on top of music, but football and school takes up a lot of my time.”
No. 22 BOISE STATE AT TROY
When: 4 p.m. MT Saturday
Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000, ProGrass), Troy, Ala.
TV: ESPNews (Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley); Cable One ch. 135, DirecTV ch. 207, Dish Network ch. 142
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
2017 Records: BSU 11-3 (beat Oregon in Las Vegas Bowl); Troy 11-2 (beat North Texas in New Orleans Bowl)
Series: Boise State 1-0 (Broncos beat Trojans 24-13 on Sept. 2, 2017 in Boise)
Vegas line: Boise State by 10 1/2