University of Texas Defensive Tackle Paul Boyette Jr. seems to always be surrounded by great athletes. And that’s just at home.
Boyette, a senior from Humble, TX, is married to WNBA player Imani Boyette of the Chicago Sky, who is the daughter of Olympic Gold Medalist Pam McGee and the brother of NBA player Javale McGee. Paul is the nephew of former NFL stars Garland Boyette and the late Ernie Ladd. He also talks regularly on the phone with his uncle’s friend and NFL Hall of Famer Elvin Bethea.
Oh, and Paul’s a pretty good football player himself.
It might seem that he would feel a bit of pressure from all the professional athletes in his family, but instead he sees it as a blessing.
“I don’t let pressure get to me. At the end of the day it’s a child’s game and I’ve been playing football my whole life,” says Boyette. “There’s pressure there but I know what I need to do and what’s at stake. It’s a pride thing.”
Despite being surrounded by people who’ve turned athletics into a career, Paul actually wants to follow the career path of another family member, his mother. His mom has been in the healthcare field for over 35 years and this led Paul to getting his degree in Health Promotion from UT. He will begin graduate school classes at UT this fall after graduating in the Spring of 2016.
Most college students seem to have a vague idea of what they want to do with their degree, but Boyette has a very specific goal in mind with his major: He wants to open and run nursing homes. It’s an uncommon goal, but Boyette credits time spent with his mother growing up with inspiring his interest in the field.
“I started out my freshman year researching how much nursing homes cost. I had a goal and a dream set. I told my mom that we were going to own our own franchise of nursing homes and I told her to be ready to be the CEO for it,” says Boyette. “I think the University of Texas has given me great opportunities and amplified my dream even more to allow it to come true.”
Boyette’s focus on his dreams has helped him become a leader in the Longhorn locker room as well. Last year Coach Charlie Strong and his position coaches challenged him to be more vocal, something that doesn’t come naturally to Boyette. Heading into his second year as a leader, he feels that he has improved in that area. But he says it’s his quiet nature that makes it seem more important when he does have something to say.
“If I have to say something then something is really wrong, but I think Coach Strong has been saying that I need to speak my mind more. If you ask my wife she will say I’m always quiet, so this was something new for me to take on,” says Boyette.
Boyette prefers to lead by example, and being married at such a young age has helped him grow in maturity much faster than a normal 23-year-old.
“Being married has helped me hold myself to a higher standard on the football field, in the classroom, and in meeting rooms,” says Boyette. “My wife is big on calendars and planning and I never did stuff like that. She’s helped make me a better person by helping me plan out my weeks.”
Being the mature married man that he is has given Boyette a platform to speak to the younger players on the team, even if he doesn’t love being the most vocal guy. He passes on wisdom he received from his uncle Garland, who played for Grambling State in the early 60s.
“My uncle always told me that football doesn’t last long so whatever you do, make sure you have a backup plan,” says Boyette. “I tell all the young guys that there’s nothing wrong with redshirting, there’s nothing wrong with finding yourself and getting squared away academically.”
It might be easy for Boyette to dream big being surrounded by so much athletic talent, but he knows that consistency in his daily life will create the success that he strives for in the future.
“Small goals turn into big dreams. I live by that every day,” says Boyette.