Eyes of NFL on Groveton native ahead of draft

GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - It's not every day that the NFL sends a film crew out to East Texas, but when you're a top prospect in this year's draft, it happens.

"This is stuff you never expect to happen, but things just went so fast," Lane Johnson said.

So fast that you might have missed Johnson grow from a small quarterback at Groveton High School to one of the top offensive tackles in this year's NFL Draft.

Which is why the NFL Network brought Johnson and his former coach Keith Thomas together to tape a special segment.

"I want to show them where I came from and show them my roots with all the positions I played," Johnson said. "It's a big honor to include some of the people along the way."

The special will focus on those who inspired draft picks. Johnson had only one choice.

"For him to nominate me to come up here and do this is a blessing for me and something I will never forget," Keith Thomas said.

Those who know johnson best say this was not a surprise and feel that he is only bringing pride to the small community.

"This is a privilege for Groveton and it puts it on the map," said James Evans, Johnson's father.

"It's exciting," said Johnson's wife, Chelsea. "I'm excited to walk this path with him and see where it takes us."

Johnson loves the fame he is getting but says he always looks to inspire those from Groveton.

"I was a kid that didn't have any offers out of high school," Johnson said. "I kept working and staying hungry and determined, and when you make sacrifices and stay determined and put a lot of dedication into what you want to do it will pay off."

No matter where he lands next, be it sunny Jacksonville, Fla., freezing Buffalo, NY or under the bright Broadway lights in New York City, Johnson promises to keep his hometown close to his heart.

I'm a country boy at heart," Johnson said. "It is where I have always lived. I will be playing in a big city now, but in the summer will be coming home."
The special will air on April 22, just three days before Johnson hopes to hear his name called in the NFL Draft.

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