Indianapolis Colts

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Posted by Kevin Bowen on May 8, 2013 – 8:00 am

The University of Oregon football program carries a storied tradition that has only grown over the past decade.

While the Ducks have soared to national prominence since the turn of the century, the program has 10 conference championships to its name.

Yet back in 2009, there was a 5-10, 205-pound safety doing something that had not been done by any other player in the history of Oregon football.

Freshman John Boyett would lead the Ducks with 90 tackles while filling in for future NFL safety T.J. Ward.

With his 90 tackles, Boyett became the first Oregon freshman to lead the Ducks in tackles since defensive stats were first recorded in 1969.

“John’s a thinker,” Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said. “His motor is always running. He studies so much film that he feels that he knows what’s going to happen before it happens.”

“You’ve got to love what John brings because he really studies the game, really loves playing, enjoys practice. That’s why I call him a football gym rat, a guy that’s always around, always asking questions, always looking at film, just loves playing.”

Aliotti is beginning his 15th straight season at the helm of the Ducks defense and knows what is missing now that Boyett, a four-year starter, has moved onto the NFL.

The accolades that Boyett accumulated (a two-time All-American resume) speaks for itself but Aliotti provided some light on the type of player that Colts fans might not see from purely a stats standpoint.

“(Boyett) comes to work everyday, to practice, to get better and study. He loves being around it and he’s a fun kid to be around. He might even give Coach (Chuck) Pagano and (Greg) Manusky some defenses to run. He’ll draw up some ‘Boyett blitz,” Aliotti said with a laugh.

Boyett’s senior season was cut short due to knee pain that he played through during the better part of his career in Eugene.

Pagano said following the draft that Boyett’s rehab was pointing in the right direction and the two were able to talk at this year’s NFL Combine.

As a former defensive back, Pagano sees the fire in Boyett that is needed to be a successful member of the secondary

“We had a few minutes in between (formal combine interviews), and this guy just blew us away in about a two-minute interview,” Pagano said of Boyett. “You could tell that this guy was very, very passionate about playing this sport, playing football, and what he could bring to the table.”

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