When you list off the Ducks’ most important players, how long does it take until John Boyett’s name comes up? You’ve got Darron Thomas and LaMichael James, the explosive pieces that make Oregon’s offensive engine go. Undeniably unique players that give Oregon its identity as a team. After those two, is there anyone more irreplaceable than John Boyett?
From a production standpoint, Boyett is top of the line. As a redshirt freshman Boyett stepped in and managed to lead the team in tackles, a feat that had never been accomplished in Oregon’s history. He had a monster game against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, racking up 12 tackles. As a Sophomore Boyett managed to take his game to another level. He was top 25 nationally in both interceptions and passes defensed per game, and was voted a second team all-American by Sports Illustrated. He again came up big when it mattered most, leading the team in tackles against Auburn in the national championship game. Before his Junior season Boyett was put on the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s top defensive back. Continuing his trend of coming up big in Oregon’s most important games, Boyett totaled a ridiculous 14 tackles in the LSU season opener.
Boyett’s safety position is one area where Oregon isn’t particularly deep. If he were to ever miss an extended amount of time, there’s just isn’t a player on the roster that would come close to providing the production that Boyett quietly delivers. He’s a tackling machine and hard hitter, but also possesses impressive ball skills and discipline. On a team that’s known for flash, it’s easy for a guy like Boyett to get lost in the fold, but he’s the linchpin of the Ducks defense that will be tested weekly with the arrival of conference play. First up are the pass-happy Wildcats, led by 5th year Senior Nick Foles. Boyett missed Oregon’s last game against Missouri State and we can only hope that it was a minor nick he was resting, not something more serious. His presence will be needed in a game where points figure to come in bunches and defensive stops will be at a premium.