Bronco Beat

Three surgeries in one day? Boise State’s patched-together defender plays key role

Ladies and gentlemen, they can rebuild him. They have the technology. They have the capability to build Boise State’s first bionic man.

Jabril Frazier will be that man.

OK, so the Broncos’ junior STUD end may not be a $6 million man, but his offseason surgery costs sure weren’t cheap.

One is enough, but how about three?

Frazier had operations on a shoulder, knee and ankle soon after the Broncos’ loss in the Cactus Bowl, forcing him to miss spring practices. He recalls wanting to walk out of the hospital on his own, but since he had work done more or less from head to toe, had to be pushed out on a wheelchair.

“It was hard. You want to be out there and do everything you can to contribute, but when you aren’t able to be at your best, it’s tough,” Frazier said. “I’ve heard some jokes about all the doctor’s bills, but I needed to have all that done.”

It all started in fall camp when he tore the labrum in a shoulder. He injured ligaments in an ankle Oct. 15 against Colorado State and tore the meniscus in a knee Nov. 12 at Hawaii.

Frazier played through it all, missing only the bowl game after the problems became too much to bear, finishing eighth on the team with 38 tackles and third with four sacks.

“I tried to play through everything ... I had to call it quits,” Frazier said.

Yet, it could have been so much better, especially after a promising redshirt freshman campaign in which he had 2.5 sacks in a backup role. All four of his sacks in 2016 came in the first five games. The Broncos’ sixth game? Colorado State.

“I started off good the first five games, but when I hurt my ankle, it was like I was (pretty much) done, I couldn’t really run. It was just bad for me,” Frazier said.

STUD is a spot designed to take advantage of the Broncos’ best pass rushers’ skills. It’s where Kamalei Correa racked up 19 sacks total in 2014 and 2015.

“He’s a great pass rusher, so we have to get him in situations that help him one-on-one against an offensive tackle,” defensive line coach Steve Caldwell said last year.

With Frazier slowed down, Gabe Perez, Sam Whitney and Durrant Miles all saw time at STUD. Perez and Whitney had injuries that forced them to miss more than half the season, and Miles is typically a defensive end. They combined for one sack and 5.5 tackles for loss. Frazier, Whitney, redshirt freshman Curtis Weaver and true freshman Aisa Kelemete are expected to work at the position when fall camp starts Aug. 1.

“If you look in the first five games, we were tops in sacks, but we had a couple guys go down, we were young, didn’t have much rotation in the D-line,” Frazier said. “This year we have a lot of young guys ready to play, so it should be a big year for us on the D-line.

“We can’t do like last year and all play 70 plays a game, it’s not going to work like that.”

Frazier now commands a presence on the edge at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds. He said he added 10 pounds in the offseason, which he hopes enables him to be more durable. His considerable athleticism showed in his first two seasons in flashes, but now is his time to let it out for a full campaign.

“I took six months off, but I had to heal,” Frazier said. “... This has to be a big year for me.”