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Insane dedication: Safety John Boyett anchors Oregon's secondary



John [email protected]@goducks roster@@ is a man possessed. Well, at least on the football field. If you doubt his brutality, you can consult YouTube or a number of opposing receivers and running backs. They’ll be quick to confirm that crossing the middle of the field against Oregon is a dangerous prospect.

“He’s out of his friggin’ mind, but I say that in a positive way,” Oregon defensive coordinator Nick [email protected]@goducks roster@@ says. “If you want to talk football, he’s always trying to invent something, put something in: ‘Coach, I can do this. Coach, I can do that.’”

Off the field? Let’s just say that Boyett has a quieter side. Though his intimidating demeanor may seem impenetrable, Boyett is relatively soft-spoken. Prodding him to champion his own accomplishments is more difficult than running a crossing route against the Ducks on third down.

In reality, the heart of Oregon’s secondary is more easygoing than he’d probably want you to think. Senior cornerback Anthony [email protected]@goducks roster@@, who has patrolled the Ducks’ secondary with Boyett for three seasons, says that hanging with John can be an amusing experience.

“He’s a little bit of a [email protected]@m-w@@. He’ll play a couple practical jokes on you, mess with you while you’re in meetings,” Gildon says. “Just hanging out in the locker room, he might take something from your locker and have you looking for it.”

That’s not to say that Boyett doesn’t take his job seriously. In fact, according to Aliotti, Boyett may be one of the most dedicated players to take the field in recent years. Whether it’s in film study or the practice field, Boyett stays immersed in the intricacies of the game.

“John Boyett is an athletic junkie,” Aliotti says. “He’s like a basketball gym rat, which is a compliment, but only on the football field. He lives, eats and breathes football. He studies it all the time.”

Both Gildon and Aliotti are grateful that Boyett is more than willing to impart his expertise to the next generation of the Oregon secondary.

“If he’s out there with a younger corner, he’ll just try to make sure that he knows what he’s doing before,” Gildon says. “John will line him up before he gets lined up. He’s kind of the field general type.”

“He’s definitely helping all those young guys get lined up, talking to them all the time, trying to tell them about working hard and technique,” Aliotti says. “Those young guys sometimes don’t know and don’t get it because they’re from high school and they’re the star. But John got it early, and John does a great job of communicating.”

Boyett’s immense knowledge of the game makes it tempting to label him as one-dimensional. But if you ask the second-team [email protected]@http://www.goducks.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=500&ATCLID=1550409@@ about what’s most important to him, it’s quickly apparent that his kin and hometown come first. Boyett’s younger brother, [email protected]@http://www.ucdavisaggies.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/boyett_charles01.html@@, is a football player at UC Davis. Naturally, he plays free safety. And yes, Boyett isn’t hesitant to share his tips and observations — about football or life — with his younger sibling.

“I talk to my brother almost every day,” Boyett says. “I talk to everyone in my family down there every day. I’m really close with my family. Me and my brother talk about the upcoming game, who they are and what kind of schemes there are. I think it really helps to come from a football family.”

“John has a very strong family,” Aliotti says. “And they’re really close, I mean extremely close. And he’s got a big family with a lot of uncles and nephews and cousins and stuff like that.”@@could be cut@@

Boyett’s strongest connection is to the household he was raised in, but he can’t ignore the other people inhabiting his old stomping grounds either. Every offseason, when he’s not training with the Ducks, Boyett makes a concerted effort to return to Napa, Calif., and reach out to the local youth. He volunteers at camps at his former elementary school, serving as a role model while running students through a variety of drills.

“It means a lot to me,” Boyett says. “I always want to go back and give back to my community because I know when I was younger we had older guys like Mike [email protected]@http://www.calbears.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/gibson_mike00.html@@ — who played at [email protected]@see previous link@@, and then played for the [email protected]@http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/players/8961@@ — he used to come back and I would be like, ‘Ah!’ That’s always cool for younger kids to see older kids come back who I guess you could say were successful, been to college.”

Aliotti explains Boyett’s role back home in a simpler way.

“He is a folk hero, so to speak, or an icon, back in Napa,” Aliotti says.

At its core, Boyett’s success at Oregon boils down to two key characteristics: dedication and passion for the game.

“John’s greatest strength, besides obviously his athletic ability, is just his knowledge of the game,” Aliotti says. “His studying of the game and the fact that he just loves it. He just loves to play. He’s a football junkie.”

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