The dream of every college football player is to hear their name announced at the NFL Draft, signifying that they don’t have to stop playing football for a little while longer. For Oregon Ducks‘ safety John Boyett, that dream seemed all but finished after playing just one game in the 2012 season before undergoing surgery on both knees. However, Boyett will get one more opportunity to show what he can do as he heads to the NFL Combine for his audition to play at the next level.
Boyett came to Eugene as a four-star safety recruit and got his first action stepping in for an injured T.J. Ward as a redshirt freshman. He made an immediate impact and became a three-year starter for the defense, becoming a leader of the team and another coach on the field for defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. He played intelligently and with unparalleled intensity, making plays and bringing the wood to opposing offenses.
Despite being just 5-foot-10, Boyett never had trouble being productive on defense. He earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors in 2009 when he made 90 tackles with three interceptions and five pass break-ups. He followed that up with five interceptions, nine pass break-ups and an honorable mention All-Pac 12 selection in 2010. He continued to improve and put together his best season yet in 2011 when he finished with 108 tackles (3.5 for loss) with an interception and six pass break-ups, earning second-team All-Pac 12 honors.
2012 looked to be Boyett’s time to break out on the national stage, but his opportunity was cut short following Oregon’s season-opening blowout win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves. After the game, Boyett decided to have surgery on both knees to repair partial tears in both patella tendons which had been bothering him throughout the 2011 season. That decision ended his senior year, but it may not end his football career.
Boyett will have a lot going against him as he tries to get drafted into the NFL. He’s undersized and missed pretty much an entire season with knee injuries. He will have to prove that he’s overcome the knee issues and that his small stature doesn’t diminish the big way he plays the game. If he can, then his football dreams will get to live on for at least a little longer.