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April 9, 2013
49ers among teams to watch safety John Boyett's day in the sun

When he played at Napa High School, Oregon safety John Boyett never took a snap off.

He was the quarterback and starting safety. He was the holder on field goals and extra points, and he also served as the team's punter. When Napa High won the 2007 Sac-Joaquin Division I sectional championship, Boyett led the way, and he was named The Bee's player of the year for that reason.

Which helps explain why 2012 was so grueling for Boyett. The guy who never went to the sideline in high school missed virtually his entire senior season at Oregon with injuries to both knees. Boyett also had to sit back and watch while the rest of this year's safety class showed off their skills at the scouting combine in February.

On Wednesday he finally gets his day in the sun.

He'll work out at noon at Napa High School in front of a dozen or so teams, including the 49ers and Raiders. Boyett said he's not quite 100 percent but that he's pain-free for first time since before the 2011 season and is eager to prove his mettle to future employers.

"Whatever team drafts me, I can't wait to get out there and compete for a job," he said by phone Tuesday. "I love football. I'm ready to go."

Boyett played his junior season at Oregon with both knees ailing, finishing that year with 108 tackles, six pass break ups and an interception. He started the next year's opener - and had an interception in the game - but a combination of prudence and pain convinced him to have surgery to repair the patella tendons in both joints.

The problem with dual knee procedures is that they don't happen on the same day. Boyett had surgery on one in mid September and the other six weeks after that, which means he hasn't quite reached the six-month recovery period. "I feel better right now than what I did my junior season," he said. "And I don't even have the strength back in my legs yet. Once I get the strength in my legs, I feel confident I'll be better than I ever have been."

The 5-10, 205-pound safety could not run in February. So he concentrated on other areas - interviews and bench press. By all accounts, he aced both. His 27 repetitions of 225 pounds were second only to Syracuse's Shamarko Thomas among defensive backs. In fact, it was better than 23 of the offensive linemen who lifted in Indianapolis.

Boyett had been considered a late-round selection, and his draft fate largely will hinge on Wednesday's workout

But his stock seems to be rising as he returns to full strength. He had dinner with the Broncos Tuesday, and he has visits lined up with three teams -- the Saints, Giants and Colts. Asked which of the local teams he liked growing up, Boyett gave a politic answer - he enjoyed watching good games no matter who was playing. He also cited someone who played both for the 49ers and Raiders when asked about his favorite safety.

"The way Ronnie Lott played the game defines the position," he said. "Just the way he played the game with a chip on his shoulder - I feel like that's how everyone should play."

- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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