While the Pac-12 had a banner weekend on the field overall, one conference team ranked in the top five suffered a big blow at a key position, as Oregon learned that all-American safety John Boyett would need surgery to repair partial tears of both his patellar tendons, his hometown newspaper the Napa Valley Register reported.
A senior, Boyett was named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in the country, and ranked fourth in the Pac-12 with 108 tackles last season. He was one of the stars in the Ducks' Rose Bowl win, a performance that included his career-high 17 tackles.
The injury likely means the end of his career in Eugene unless he's granted a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA. According to the report, Boyett will have surgery to repair the tendons in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
“I've had a lingering injury that I played through all last year," Boyett said in a statement. "The hope was, through different treatments and certain types of rehab during this past offseason, they would heal up and I'd be ready to go for my senior year. But unfortunately, it didn't work out as planned. I've been dealing with a tremendous amount of pain for a long time. At this time, I'm not able to play up to this level that I want to."
The safety started the opener for Oregon against Arkansas State and hauled in an interception but was not seen practicing the following week and did not play in the program's recent victory over Fresno State.
Boyett considered making himself available for the NFL Draft after the Rose Bowl but returned to school to finish out one of the most productive careers in Oregon history. Before his injury, CBSSports.com draft analysts rated him as a possible third-round pick.
“I haven't thought about the future. All I'm worried about is getting healthy," he told the paper. "I'm just worried about trying to get back to 100 percent, trying to get healthy. I'm 100 percent confident that I will be back on the football field. It's just going to take a little bit of time. I'm going to do everything I can to get back to 100 percent.”
Redshirt junior Avery Patterson will likely fill Boyett's spot on the depth chart.