GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - If you ask Jimmy Evans if he is surprised to see Lane Johnson in the Super Bowl, he will tell you, "No."
Evans is Johnson's stepdad and has been part of the All-Pro's life for the majority of it.
"Even when he was in high school, I knew Lane was going to be good," Evans said. "We just had to get to the right school."
Johnson is the second player from the small community of Groveton to play in the big game. Rodney Thomas graduated from Groveton in 1991 and played for the Titans in Superbowl XXXIV against the Rams. When Thomas was shredding defenses at Groveton, Johnson was just a one-year old baby.
Johnson went on to play quarterback in Groveton and followed in Thomas' footsteps. Johnson went on to play college ball and then in 2013, he got drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Johnson had changed, though. He was now a larger-than-life offensive lineman.
"He was just a unique person," Evans said. "He would sit at the table, and he would reach across and wiggle my ears just to pester me."
Evans knows the Patriots could present some problems for the Eagles on Sunday, but he is confident in Johnson.
"Lane knows what it is like to get hit back there," Evans said. "Lane is a self-conscious person. He wants to do well, and he wants to please people."
Evans never missed one of Lane's games through high school and in college at Kilgore and Oklahoma. He did miss some professional games due to his fear of flying. He said he will text Johnson after every game though and encourage him.
Evans is the head track coach in Crockett and said due to his track schedule and his fear of flying, he will watch the big game in the comfort of his living room.
"I don't like flying," Evans said. "It is just too many people for me. I just assume to sit there at the house and watch it and make sure he gets out alright. When it is over I will get back to work."