Trip down memory lane; Groveton teachers remember a young Lane Johnson

Source: Groveton High School
Source: Groveton High School

GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - It is no surprise to the residents of Groveton that Lane Johnson would be playing in a Super Bowl.

Before he was making a name for himself and picking up an NFL All-Pro honor this year for the Philadelphia Eagles, Lane was dreaming of the big stage while walking the hallways of Groveton High School.

"He sat right in front of my desk and said, 'My mom told me that football can take me out of this town','" Groveton teacher Chris Driskell said when recalling a class session she had with Johnson.

Lane would do more than just dream. He would build his craft on the tough East Texas football fields and continue to push.

"You could tell this kid had it from the get-go," said teacher Larry Fortenberry. "He had a goal and he stuck to that goal."

One thing that may have been against Johnson was his size.

"He was tall and all arms and legs in high school," Kerri Johnson said. "When he talked about going to college and the pros, I said Lane that is great but you are not going as a quarterback."

So he grew through work at Kilgore Junior College and the University of Oklahoma.

"In his early years, he was a little dangly and awkward, so you wouldn't have imagined, but as he started growing, you knew that there was ability there," Driskell said.

Lane was more than just a football player in high school. He was an all-around student. He finished with a 3.87 GPA and was named the school's valedictorian. He was also active in the FFA program and would raise steers every year for the county fair.

"Anytime you saw him on campus he was reading a book," Fortenberry said. "While the other kids were sitting around talking, he was always reading."

Lane also learned to give back to the community through fundraisers, so when his hometown saw he was raising money for Philadelphia schools, it did not come as a shock.

"Lane was able to raise money for causes here," Johnson said. "Whenever they would sell candy or anything the town would help Lane out. They were always there to buy something to help the students."

Johnson had the ability to be serious but would also show a comical side in his theater classes. His instructor Dorothy Kennedy remembers him as always being ready to shine.

"Lane's manners and work ethic got him to where he is today," Kennedy said."We try to instill that in all of our students."

So when you see Lane getting pumped up for the game or staring down the Patriots defense at the Super Bowl, know it is something not taught but something learned from experiences in East Texas and years of teaching.

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